'Jack' flops despite slaying N. America film rivals

Big-budget action-adventure "Jack the Giant Slayer" crushed its rivals in its debut weekend to top the North American box office, data showed Monday -- but was branded a major flop by experts.

"Jack," which stars Nicholas Hoult as a young farmhand battling giants to save a princess, raked in $27.2 million in its first three days of release -- , well below what would constitute success, given its budget.

"The mediocre .. debut is disastrous," said Jeff Bock, analyst at data tracking agency Exhibitor Relations, comparing it to major box office busts like "John Carter" and "Battleship."

"This is a surprise considering the talent both in front of and behind the camera," he told AFP, adding that studio Warner's "will now have to rely on international markets to save" the movie.

Nevertheless it easily unseated the comedy "Identity Thief" starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, which dropped back to second place with $9.7 million in box office receipts. So far, "Thief" has taken in $107.4 million.

Debuting in third place was comedy "21 & Over," about a medical student who goes out partying with his buddies for his 21st birthday on the eve of a major med school exam. The film took in $8.8 million from Friday to Sunday.

In fourth place was action film "Snitch" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which dropped from second place with $7.8 million.

Horror sequel "The Last Exorcism Part II" came in fifth with $7.7 million in its opening weekend, followed by animated kids movie "Escape from Planet Earth," in sixth with $6.6 million.

Romantic drama "Safe Haven," the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, was in seventh place at $6.3 million.

"Silver Linings Playbook," whose star Jennifer Lawrence took home the Oscar for best actress finished in eighth place with $5.7 million. It has so far taken in $115.3 million in box office sales.

"A Good Day to Die Hard," the latest "Die Hard" action film with Bruce Willis reprising his role as supercop John McClane, finished in ninth place despite less-than-flattering reviews with $4.6 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was science fiction horror movie "Dark Skies" with $3.5 million.