Oz: The Great and Powerful–Global Impact

James Franco is no Johnny Depp, and Sam Raimi is no Tim Burton. And so “Öz: The Great and Powerful” is no “Alice in Wonderland,” also made by Disney.

According to RottenTomatoes, the new “Oz” received 62 percent of the reviews were positive.

Even so, “Oz: The Great and Powerful” still managed to make a strong global bow, scoring an estimated $150.2 million worldwide, including the third-largest domestic March debut ever of $80.3 million.

This offers further evidence to the impact of globalization of American films, in the sense that big profits now depend increasingly on foriegn sales and international markets. For cultura critics such as myself, the question is: How much pressure this tendency puts on American filmmakers to make more acceptable and accessible features across various cltures (less dialogue to be translated and dubbed? less complex thematic plot? more visual and sound effects that are CGI?).

“Oz” launched day-and-date in 46 international territories, representing approximately 81% of the overseas market place, for an offshore tally of $69.9 million. The only major markets yet to bow the pic are France and China.

Disney execs can take a huge sigh of relief at the opening of “Oz”–not that there was ever much fear of the film underperforming.

Still, the debut performance of “Oz” lacked the same kind of magic that characterized the $210 million global launch of “Alice.” That picture earned $94 million from 40 debut territories internationally, as well as holds the second-highest March opening Stateside ($116 million) behind “The Hunger Games” ($152 million).

“It started out as good news and kept getting better as the weekend went on,” said Disney distribution head Dave Hollis. “Our demos reinforce that this is, in fact, a four-quadrant event that you try to create.”

The “Oz” debut was a much-needed jolt to the domestic box office; year-over-year totals are behind 2012 by 17%.

The weekend’s only other wide release, FilmDistrict’s adult suspenser “Dead Man Down,” underperformed with an estimated $5.4 million.

“Dead Man Down” landed in fourth place behind holdovers “Jack the Giant Slayer,” with $10 million (down a hefty 63% in its second outing), and “Identity Thief,” earning $6.3 million, for a domestic haul of $116 million. “Jack” has

reached nearly $44 million Stateside so far.

Roadside Attractions launched WWII counterprogrammer “Emperor” at 260 locations where it grossed an estimated $1 million and averaged $4,010 per screen. That’s a strong showing for the war pic, which Roadside marketed aggressively to military bases and American Legion posts.