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'42' scores a hit with $27 million debut

by DAVID GERMAIN AP Movie Writer on April 15, 2013 9:00 AM

LOS ANGELES — Baseball has scored a rare hit in Hollywood, while another American institution — Tom Cruise — has delivered his latest hit overseas.

The Jackie Robinson tale “42” took in $27.3 million to claim the weekend box-office championship domestically, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The film has yet to open overseas, where the sport is a harder sell. But Cruise knocked it out of the park with a $61.1 million international launch in 52 countries for his sci-fi thriller “Oblivion.” That bodes well for the domestic debut of “Oblivion” on Friday. The film stars Cruise as a workman on a devastated future Earth who lands in a battle with aliens.

If “Oblivion” packs in comparable domestic crowds, it will help maintain the action-star momentum Cruise regained with 2011’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” That return to box-office luster came after some fitful years that followed odd turns in his personal life, culminating with the breakup of his marriage to Katie Holmes last year.

Released by Warner Bros., “42” easily beat the domestic start of an established franchise in “Scary Movie 5.” The Weinstein Co. sequel opened in second-place with $15.2 million, the smallest debut for the horror-comedy series.

Three of the previous four “Scary Movie” installments had debuts of $40 million or more.

On the other hand, “42” outdid the usual expectations for baseball movies, which usually do modest business at best. Box-office trackers had expected “42” to pull in less than $20 million. The previous weekend’s top draw, Sony’s horror remake “Evil Dead,” tumbled to No. 5 with $9.5 million, raising its domestic haul to $41.5 million.

With generally good reviews, “42” drew in older crowds, with 83 percent of the audience over 25, Fellman said.

Estimated ticket sales below are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included.

1. “42,” $27.3 million

2. “Scary Movie 5,” $15.2 million ($3.5 million international)

3. “The Croods,” $13.2 million ($25.5 million international)

4. “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” $10.8 million ($15.6 million international)

5. “Evil Dead,” $9.5 million ($2.9 million international)

6. “Jurassic Park” in 3-D, $8.8 million ($1.3 million international)

7. “Olympus Has Fallen,” $7.3 million

8. “Oz the Great and Powerful,” $4.9 million ($5.2 million international)

9. “Tyler Perry’s Temptation,” $4.5 million

10. “The Place Beyond the Pines,” $4.1 million ($2.2 million international)

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