By Amy Kaufman
5:26 PM EDT, April 18, 2013
Even the most oblivious of moviegoers will be well aware of "Oblivion" this weekend, as the Tom Cruise flick is set to claim No. 1 at the box office.
The "Mission: Impossible" actor's latest film, the only picture debuting nationwide this weekend, is poised to have a healthy debut of around $37 million, according to those who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
Meanwhile, in its second weekend in theaters, "42" is expected to hold up well at the box office. The Jackie Robinson drama launched last weekend with a respectable $27.5 million and earned a perfect A+ average grade from moviegoers, market research firm CinemaScore said. With such strong word of mouth, it's likely that the movie won't see its ticket sales fall more than 40% this weekend.
In "Oblivion, a post-apocalyptic thriller, Cruise stars as one of the last humans on Earth -- a drone repairman who suffers from strange flashbacks about life on the devastated planet. Heading into the weekend, older males are showing the most interest in the movie, which Thursday had notched a 59% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Universal Pictures said it and co-financier Elliot Inc. paid $120 million to make the film, which got off to a good start overseas last weekend. Playing in 52 foreign markets, the film collected $61 million and was No. 1 in 48 of the locations where it opened. The film did best in Russia, where its $8.6-million gross was the best opening ever for Cruise in the country. The film is likely to sail past the $100-million milestone this weekend as it launches in seven additional countries.
Cruise's films almost always perform far better abroad than domestically. With the exception of the box-office disappointment "Rock of Ages," every film the actor has appeared in over the last decade has made more internationally than in the U.S. and Canada. His last film, December's "Jack Reacher," collected 63% of its overall $216.6 global gross overseas.
Also this weekend, the Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper crime drama "The Place Beyond the Pines" will expand from 514 theaters to more than 1,400 locations. So far, the well-reviewed Focus Features release has sold $6.4 million worth of tickets.
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