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This story first appeared in the Jan. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John McCain, R-Ariz., did their best to denounce Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty. But when the controversial film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden finally debuted in Washington on Jan. 11, it seems many of their political and government colleagues ignored the warnings.
D.C.-area venues landed four spots on the list of the film’s 10 top-grossing theaters — a nearly unheard-of feat — with the AMC Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia turning in the best earnings of any location in the country (the theater is 7.4 miles from CIA headquarters in McLean, Va.). That’s not to say Zero Dark Thirty isn’t resonating elsewhere.
The Sony release, made for about $45 million by Megan Ellison‘s Annapurna Pictures, is performing well in such big cities as New York and Los Angeles, where it opened Dec. 19, and in red states including Oklahoma and Texas. All told, Zero Dark Thirty rode the controversy over its depiction of torture and its five Oscar nominations, including best picture, to $24.4 million for the weekend, easily winning the frame and putting its domestic total at $30 million.
The movie definitely skewed older, with 69 percent of the audience 25 and over and 27 percent over 50. Sony president of worldwide distribution Rory Bruer credits Bigelow: “Kathryn did such a masterful job of telling this story.”
Top 10 theaters for Zero Dark Thirty for the weekend of Jan. 11-13:
1. AMC Tysons Corner 16, McLean, Va. $75,554
2. AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13, New York City $71,686
3. AMC Georgetown 14, Washington, D.C. $64,137
4. AMC Hoffman Center Center 22, Alexandria, Va. $59,882
5. AMC Loews Village 7, New York City $59,187
6. Regal Gallery Place Stadium 14, Washington, D.C. $58,044
7. AMC NorthPark 15, Dallas $52,042
8. Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24, Houston $49,615
9. Moore Warren Theatre, Oklahoma City $49,582
10. AMC Century City 15, Los Angeles $48,209
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The Green Knight