Weekend Box Office: ‘Zero Dark’ Assassinates All Competition

This weekend was a major upset for Friday’s new releases. One performed better than expected, but the other highly underperformed – and both lost to the expansion of an Oscar nominee.

Zero Dark Thirty‘ went from a limited release in New York and L.A. to more than 2,900 screens in its fourth weekend, and picked up an additional $24 million in the process. To date, the film has grossed $29.4 million domestically. The controversial drama is on track to pass (please note that I’m laughing out loud while comparing these two movies) ‘Point Break‘ as Kathryn Bigelow’s highest grossing film. Knowing that they had a Best Picture contender on their hands, the brass at Sony decided to hold its expansion until the Oscar nominations were announced, which proved to be a very wise choice.

The underdog horror comedy ‘A Haunted House‘ surprisingly debuted in the #2 spot. Predicted to earn only $13.7 million, the ‘Paranormal Activity’ spoof finished with $18.8 million. The Hollywood Reporter notes that 78% of the audience consisted of Latinos and African-Americans.

While ‘A Haunted House’ opened $5 million above expectations, ‘Gangster Squad‘ opened $5 million below its predictions. Despite featuring a star-studded and relevant cast headed by Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin and Sean Penn, the cops and robbers period piece only pulled in $16.7 million. That’s terrible considering that it’s budget is rumored to be around $70 million.

Oscar nominations didn’t help out the box office tallies for the fourth and fifth place films, ‘Django Unchained‘ and ‘Les Miserables‘. But those two were already successful to begin with. ‘Django’ earned another $11 million and ‘Les Miserables’ $10.1 million.

Oscar nominations did help ‘Lincoln‘, which added an additional 126 screens to its run and climbed 16.6% in attendance. ‘Silver Linings Playbook‘ added 65 screens (and will be expanding to 2,500 this weekend) and climbed 38.2% in attendance.

Not a single of the week’s new indie releases have had their weekend estimates announced, so you’ll have to check the actuals later today to see how they performed.

Top 10:

1. ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (Sony) – $24,000,000

2. ‘A Haunted House’ (Open Road) – $18,817,000

3. ‘Gangster Squad’ (Warner Bros.) – $16,710,000

4. ‘Django Unchained’ (Weinstein) – $11,065,000

5. ‘Les Miserables’ (Universal) – $10,127,000

6. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (Warner Bros.) – $9,080,000

7. ‘Lincoln’ (Buena Vista) – $6,314,000

8. ‘Parental Guidance’ (Fox) – $6,100,000

9. ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ (Lionsgate) – $5,150,000

10. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ (Weinstein) – $5,000,000

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