Box Office Results: Mama Dominates MLK Jr. Weekend

Source:   Edward Douglas
January 20, 2013

The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

The weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was a good one for filmmaker Guillermo del Toro as his most recent production, the horror movie Mama (Universal), starring Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, topped the box office with $28.1 million over the three-day portion of the MLK holiday weekend. It averaged over $10,000 in its 2,647 locations and Universal is projecting it to make $33.2 million including Monday.

This was an even better weekend for one of the movie's stars, Jessica Chastain, who was at the center of an unprecedented box office coup, being the first woman in nearly 50 years to star in the top two movies at the box office. This was because Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (Sony), for which Chastain received her second Oscar nomination, dropped to second place with $17.6 million, down just 28% from its nationwide opening last week. Male actors have achieved this rare phenomenon before, most notably Chris Rock, who starred in the #1 and 2 movies when the animated Madagascar and Adam Sandler's The Longest Yard remake took those spots in the weekend after Memorial Day in 2005.

On the other hand, it wasn't a great weekend for Mark Wahlberg, whose face-off against Russell Crowe in Allen Hughes' modern crime noir Broken City (20th Century Fox) amounted to roughly $9 million over the three-day weekend, less than half what Wahlberg's Contraband made over the MLK, Jr. weekend last year. It averaged $3,400 per location in 2,620 theaters to settle for fifth place.

But the person who had the worst weekend of all had to be former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose return to action with The Last Stand (Lionsgate), co-starring Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzman, Jaimie Alexander, Rodrigo Santoro, Forest Whitaker and Eduardo Noriega, tanked with just $6.3 million over the three-day weekend in 2,913 theaters with it projected to gross $7.4 million including Monday.

David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, finally expanded nationwide into 2,523 theaters and it took full advantage of all its awards attention to bring in $11.35 million over the three-day weekend, moving up to third place. It has grossed $55.3 million during its slow expansion since opening in limited release over Thanksgiving weekend and is doing a decent job playing catch-up to the other Oscar-nominated Best Pictures--it's neck and neck with Zero Dark Thirty, which expanded nationwide much faster.

As far as the rest of the returning movies, Ruben Fleischer's Gangster Squad dropped to fourth place with $9.1 million, down 47% from its opening weekend, bringing its total to $32.2 million.

Marlon Wayans' spoof comedy A Haunted House (Open Road) took an even bigger hit, dropping 54% and falling down to sixth place with $8.3 million over the weekend and $29.9 million total. Open Road is projecting it to make $10.1 million including Monday which would put it right behind Gangster Squad with $31.8 million.

Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-nominated Django Unchained (The Weinstein Company) took seventh place with an estimated $8.2 million, down 25% from last weekend, as its total reached $138.3 million, surpassing Inglourious Basterds to become Tarantino's biggest box office hit.

Tarantino's latest also opened internationally over the weekend in 54 markets (distributed by Sony) where it added another $48.1 million to that amount with a stronger showing (up roughly 30%) from the opening of Inglourious Basterds in the same markets. Even though Tarantino's previous film was a WWII film featuring many French and German actors, "Django" did even better in Germany and France where it was #1 with $9.6 million and $7.3 million, respectively. The film took in $5.4 million in Russia, where it was #2 to Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (opening in the U.S. next weekend) and in the UK, it brought in $4.8 million but took second place behind Les MisÚrables.

Domestically, Universal's hit movie musical Les MisÚrables dropped to eighth place with $7.8 million (down 19%) and a total gross of $130.4 million domestically including Monday, which Universal projects to bring in $1.7 million. Directed by Tom Hooper, the musical has doubled that amount with international bringing its worldwide gross to $281 million through Sunday.

Ninth place went to Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (New Line/WB) with $6.4 million over the three-day weekend. It has grossed $287.4 million to date as it edges closer to the $300 million mark.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.

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