Critical darling Zero Dark Thirty moved to the big leagues this past weekend after expanding to 2937 theaters, quite a bump from last week’s 60. That seems to have been enough to push the R-rated thriller all the way to the top, beating new entries A Haunted House and Gangster Squad.
It might come as a surprise to some but the 5 times Oscar nominated Zero Dark Thirty actually premiered almost a month ago, on December 19th to be more precise. Since then the film grossed about $5.5 million in very limited release. But it was this past weekend when the film got its chance to shine with a $24.4 million take. Just for the sake of comparing numbers, it should be known that Kathryn Bigelow’s previous flick, The Hurt Locker (which also got her an Oscar for Best Director, not to mention Best Picture in 2010), made only $17 million during its entire theatrical run. So in a way the success of Zero Dark Thirty feels like she is finally getting the commercial success she should have gotten three years ago. Better late than never I guess.
R-rated parody The Haunted House is a surprising #2 with $18.1 million. Marlon Wayans, one of the minds behind the first two Scary Movie films, makes his rather triumphant return to the genre that made him famous. Sure, the movie might be downright horrible on more levels then one could comprehend, but it made enough money for studios to consider going back to making this type of crap again (Vampires Suck anyone?).
Gangster Squad was 3rd with an opening weekend of $17 million. This Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directed film was initially scheduled to come out on September 7th last year, but as some of you might remember, the tragic incident at the Aurora pushed the premiere to the 2nd weekend of January.
Django Unchained dropped to 4th with $11 million for a total of $125.3 million, making this western the highest grossing film of Quentin Tarantino’s directing career. Then rounding out the top 5 was Les Miserables with $9.6 million, currently sitting at $118.7 million, almost double its budget ($60 million).
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nabbed another $9.1 million bringing the film’s total to a very strong, if a bit underwhelming, $278.2 million (The Two Towers had $290.2 million at the same point). The film is still on track to hit $300 million but it won’t go a lot higher than that. Meanwhile Skyfall (at #17 this past weekend) generated $299.3 million thus far, so it’s only a matter of days until this James Bond adventure joins the $300 million club (becoming the 42nd film to do so).