The first quarter of 2013 has come to a close, and March is projected to have rung up an estimated $824.4 million. That figure represents a noticeable 34 percent increase over February's dismal $616.4 million haul. Year-to-year, March was down 12.5 percent from 2012's record $942.4 million haul for the month.
The good news is that last month saw several films deliver where they needed to. Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful led the charge with a strong $198.4 million in its first four weeks of release, followed by The Croods with $88.9 million after two weekends in release. G.I. Joe: Retaliation certainly contributed to March's bottom line thanks to its first four-day tally of $51 million coming at the tail end of the month. And of course, FilmDistrict's sleeper hit Olympus Has Fallen shouldn't be forgotten either as it has banked $54.9 million so far.
Overall, the $826 million figure marks the third best March on record after last year (which benefited from the huge success of The Hunger Games, The Lorax, and 21 Jump Street). March 2010 accounted for $846.6 million when Alice in Wonderland and the late legs of Avatar were shattering records.
Still, when considering inflation, 2013's March was more modest than it appears. Six previous months of March since 2000 saw higher attendance levels (2002 and 2012 representing the highest). Disappointing domestic runs from Jack the Giant Slayer, Admission, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and The Host were major factors in the month's relatively soft attendance.
Year-to-date, 2013 has amassed close to $2.267 billion. That's 12.5 percent down from 2012's first quarter and 8.2 percent ahead of 2011's $2.097 billion (a year which saw record box office lows even before considering inflation). 2010 and 2009 also performed stronger in their first three-month frames with $2.644 billion and $2.433 billion, respectively.
No April Fools here, though: adjusted for inflation, 2013 marked the second-least attended first quarter of the new century (only 2011 sold fewer tickets).
April will bring high profile releases such as Jurassic Park 3D, Evil Dead, 42, Oblivion, Scary Movie 5, and Pain and Gain to theaters. Barring major breakouts from a few of these titles, 2013's progress may not improve by leaps and bounds over the next few weeks but that could easily change beginning in May. This summer's kick-off month packs a powerful line-up that, should most of the films deliver what audiences are looking for, could end up breaking a record or two itself.
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