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Box office report: 'Zero Dark Thirty' tops chart with $24 million; 'A Haunted House' beats 'Gangster Squad'

After weeks of controversy in limited release, Sony’s $40 million Osama Bin Laden assassination film, Zero Dark Thirty, shot into first place with $24.0 million this weekend following five Oscar nominations (though not one for director Kathryn Bigelow) and an expansion from 60 to 2,937 theaters. After four weekends, the well-reviewed drama has earned $29.5 million total, and given its omnipresence during awards season, there’s no telling how high it could ultimately climb. $100 million is certainly not out of the question.

Zero Dark Thirty, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, finished in the same range as Act of Valor, another recent Navy SEAL film, which garnered $24.5 million in its opening weekend in February 2012. The film is already far bigger than Kathryn Bigelow’s last directorial effort, The Hurt Locker, which found $17.7 million in 2009, and it will easily surpass both K-19: The Widowmaker ($35.2 million) and Point Break ($43.2 million) as the biggest hit of her career. Zero Dark Thirty played mostly to older males — according to Sony, 59 percent of its audience was male, and 62 percent was older than 30. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: Despite Kathryn Bigelow snub, 'Zero Dark Thirty' wins Friday with $9 million

Director Kathryn Bigelow may not have earned an Oscar nomination (her snub, along with Ben Affleck’s, proved the main talking point on the morning of the nominations), but Sony’s Osama Bin Laden assassination drama Zero Dark Thirty is still riding a wave of good will from the five nominations it did receive, and it shot straight to number one at the box office on Friday.

Zero Dark Thirty expanded from 60 to 2,937 theaters yesterday, allowing it to gross a sizzling $9.0 million on its first day of wide release. The controversial film, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, may take in about $25 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period — right in line with the $24.5 million that the last Navy SEAL film, Act of Valor, earned in its debut weekend last year. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Gangster Squad' target No. 1 spot

On the heels of Thursday morning’s Oscar nominations, Zero Dark Thirty is poised to shoot higher than newcomers Gangster Squad and A Haunted House and rise straight to the top of the box office.

Zero Dark Thirty, the controversial film about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, has earned $5.2 million after three weeks of limited release, during which it has played in no more than 60 theaters. Sony is now expanding the $40 million film into 2,937 theaters following the five Oscar nominations — though, shockingly, not a directing nom for Kathryn Bigelow — it garnered today.

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