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Jessica Chastain packed quite a punch at the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday box office as her two films — horror pic Mama and best picture Oscar contender Zero Dark Thirty — upset the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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Final numbers for the four-day weekend show Mama, from Universal and producer Guillermo del Toro, grossing $33 million, far outpacing expectations on the strength of younger females. Studio insiders say the movie clearly benefited from its teen-friendly PG-13 rating.
Sony and Annapurna’s Zero Dark Thirty placed No. 2 in its second weekend of nationwide release, grossing $18.7 million for a domestic total of $57 million. The movie, from director Kathryn Bigelow, is among a handful of best picture contenders enjoying a bump from awards attention.
VIDEO: Jessica Chastain, Guillermo del Toro and Co. Go Behind the Scenes of ‘Mama’
The prime example over the MLK weekend was David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook, which soared up the box-office chart to No. 3 as it finally expanded nationwide, grossing $13 million for a domestic total of $57 million. Many box-office observers had thought Harvey Weinstein made a fatal mistake in deciding not to open the film nationwide in November, opting instead for a limited rollout.
Broken City, starring Wahlberg, Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones, opened to a disappointing $9.5 million to come in No. 6. The action-thriller, from Emmett/Furla Films and New Regency, received dismal reviews.
Fellow new entry The Last Stand, Schwarzenegger’s first leading role since 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, turned in an even more dismal performance, grossing $7.2 million and placing No. 10. The Lionsgate action pic’s performance could pose problems for the actor’s planned return to stardom.
In North America, Mama prospered thanks to young females; women and teenage girls made up 61 percent of the audience, while an impressive 63 percent of the audience was under 25. The horror pic was made for a modest $15 million.
Broken City and Last Stand both were rated R and ended up competing for the attention of older males; 78 percent of the audience for each was older than 25.
At the specialty box office, the France-produced best picture Oscar contender Amour continued to overperform, grossing $462,000 from nine theaters for a location average of $12,833 and cume of $1.2 million, a tidy sum for a foreign-language title.
Here are the full results for Jan. 18-21 holiday weekend at the domestic box office (* denotes best picture Oscar contender).
Title, Weeks in release/theater count, studio, three-day weekend total, cume
1. Mama 1/2,647, Universal, $33 million
2. *Zero Dark Thirty, 5/2,946, Sony/Annapurna, $18.7 million, $57 million
3. *Silver Linings Playbook, 10/2,523, The Weinstein Co., $13 million, $57 million
4. Gangster Squad, 2/3,103, Warner Bros., $10.3 million, $33.4 million
5. A Haunted House, 2/2,160, Open Road Films/IM Global, $9.7 million, $31.3 million
6. Broken City, 1/2,620, Fox/New Regency, $9.5 million.
7. *Les Miserables, 4/2,579, Universal, $9.25 million, $131.8 million
8. *Django Unchained, 4/3,012, The Weinstein Co., $9.23 million, $139.4 million
9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 6/2,323, Warner Bros./New Line, $7.7 million, $288.7 million
10. The Last Stand, 10/2,027, Lionsgate, $7.2 million
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