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Lionsgate’s Texas Chainsaw 3D exceeded expectations in its debut, grossing $23 million to win the crowded domestic box-office race.
Produced and financed by Millennium Films, the seventh installment in the slasher franchise scored one of the better openings for the first full weekend in January, a favorite landing place for horror. On the same weekend last year, The Devil Inside debuted to $33.7 million.
Texas Chainsaw, picking up where Tobe Hooper‘s classic 1974 horror pic left off, earned a C+ CinemaScore. Normally, a poor grade would spell trouble for a film’s playability, but horror films often receive a C.
In an era where moviegoing has fallen off among teenagers and younger adults, Texas Chainsaw was an exception, with 63 percent of the audience under the age of 25. Among this demo, one out of three said a major draw was singer-songwriter Trey Songz, who stars in the film alongside Alexandra Daddario and Dan Yeager.
Texas Chainsaw, costing $20 million to produce, marks another victory for Lionsgate, which crossed $1 billion in domestic ticket sales in 2012 for the first time.
“To reach this level is a very pleasant surprise,” said Lionsgate president of domestic distribution Richie Fey.
Prerelease tracking had suggested that holdovers The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Django Unchained would battle it out for No. 1, followed by Les Miserables.
Django, from the Weinstein Co., came in a strong No. 2, falling only 33 percent from the previous weekend to gross $20.1 million and jump the $100 million mark at the domestic box office. Django, surpassing Les Mis with a cume of $106.4 million, is on track to become Quentin Tarantino‘s top-grossing film in North America. Inglourious Basterds holds that record with $120 million in ticket sales.
Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit placed No. 3 in its fourth weekend, grossing $17.5 million for a domestic total of $263.8 million. The tentpole, from New Line and MGM, has now earned north of $820 million worldwide.
Tom Hooper‘s Les Mis, opening opposite Django on Christmas Day, also jumped the $100 million mark domestically. The film reached the milestone in 13 days, the fastest for any musical. Combined with international earnings of $81 million, Les Mis has earned $184.6 million worldwide.
Comedy Parental Guidance rounded out the top five domestically, grossing $10.1 million for a domestic cume of $52.8 million. The movie, from 20th Century Fox, continues to benefit from being family friendly and is playing especially well in America’s heartland.
The Matt Damon–John Krasinski drama Promised Land continued to struggle as it expanded nationwide. From director Gus Van Sant, the movie placed No. 10 with a gross of $4.3 million from 1,675 theaters.
Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty continued to dominate at the specialty box office as it expanded into an additional nine cities, grossing $2.75 million from 60 theaters for a stellar location average of $45,834. The film has earned $4.5 million since opening in Dec. 19 in New York and Los Angeles.
Zero Dark Thirty has sparked the ire of some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who maintain the film — chronicling the U.S. government’s decadelong hunt for Osama bin Laden — puts too much emphasis on the role torture played in tracking him down. Last week, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said it would investigate whether the CIA gave classified information to Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.
The controversy doesn’t appear to be diminishing interest in the film, which expands nationwide Jan. 11. The top five theaters for Zero Dark Thirty included locations in Orange County, Texas and Chicago, and the movie was No. 1 in 29 of the top 30 theaters and 51 out of 61 overall.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Amour continued to play nicely in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $63,596 in its third weekend for cume of $315,011 and location average of $21,199, the second-best of the weekend after Zero Dark Thirty.
Summit Entertainment’s tsunami drama The Impossible upped its theater count to 572, grossing $2.8 million for a cume of $3.4 million and location average of $4,825.
Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, the film continues to make headlines overseas, where it has grossed an outstanding $81.2 million. The Impossible opened in the U.K. during the weekend, taking in $6.4 million including previews. That was good enough to put the drama in a close race with Hobbit for No. 1.
In North America, The Impossible was beaten by Silver Linings Playbook, which grossed $3.6 million from 745 theaters in its eighth weekend for a cume of $34.7 million. The Bradley Cooper–Jennifer Lawrence starrer fell only 11 percent from last weekend.
The Met: Live in HD’s live Saturday broadcast of Les Troyen took in $1.3 million from 800 theaters in North America. An additional 45,000 opera fans saw the live broadcast in 650 theaters in 28 countries.
Here are the full results for the weekend of Jan. 4-6 at domestic box office:
Title, Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio, Three-day weekend total, Cume
1. Texas Chainsaw 3D, 1/2,654, Lionsgate, $23 million.
2. Django Unchained, 2/3,010, The Weinstein Co., $20.1 million, $106.4 million.
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 4/3,755, New Line/MGM, $17.5 million, $263.8 million.
4. Les Miserables, 2/2,904, Universal, $16.1 million, $103.6 million.
5. Parental Guidance, 2/3,368, 20th Century Fox, $10.1 million, $52.8 million.
6. Jack Reacher, 3/3,288, Paramount, $9.3 million, $64.8 million.
7. This Is 40, 3/2,931, Universal, $8.6 million, $54.5 million.
8. Lincoln, 9/1,901, Disney/DreamWorks, $5.3 million, $143.9 million.
9. The Guilt Trip, 3/2,312, Paramount, $4.5 million, $31.2 million.
10. Promised Land, 2/1,675, Focus Features, $4.3 million, $4.7 million.
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