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Box office report: 'Mama' punishes the boys with scary good $33 million holiday weekend

As reported yesterday, Jessica Chastain accomplished the rare feat of simultaneously starring in both the number one and number two movies in the country this weekend (not to mention, crushing two new releases in the process), and that stayed true over the extended holiday frame.

Over the four-day weekend, Mama scared up a tremendous $33 million (its three-day cume was adjusted up to $28.5 million), making the $15 million film a huge winner for Universal. Horror movies play particularly well in January — just two weeks ago Texas Chainsaw 3D topped the chart — but Mama had a lot working in its favor. Its female protagonist (Chastain) and PG-13 rating drew young women into the theater, as 61 percent of the opening weekend audience was female, and 63 percent were below the age of 25. The cachet of exec-producer Guillermo Del Toro also brought cinephiles through the doors.

Mama debuted in 2,647 theaters, where it earned a very healthy $12,480 average, but given the film’s weak “B-” CinemaScore grade and the horror genre’s frontloaded nature, it seems likely that Mama will nosedive from here. It may perform in the same range as last October’s Paranormal Activity 4, which opened with $29.0 million in its first three days on the way to $53.9 million total. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: Jessica Chastain takes No. 1 and No. 2 with 'Mama' and 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Jessica Chastain is having a moment. Not only did the red-headed Oscar nominee win a Golden Globe last weekend for her work in Zero Dark Thirty, which forced her to take a night off from her Broadway run — yes she’s starring in Broadway’s The Heiress during the thick of awards season — but she’s now achieved something few actors have ever managed: she currently holds the number one and number two movies at the box office.

Chastain’s latest vehicle, Mama, crushed the competition over the three-day weekend with a whopping $28.1 million. Universal, who produced the PG-13 film for only $15 million, opened Mama in 2,647 theaters, where it earned a terrific $10,624 average. The horror title played very well with young women — 61 percent of viewers were female, and 63 percent were below the age of 25. Unfortunately, most of those audiences weren’t overly enthusiastic about what they saw, issuing Mama a lackluster “B-” CinemaScore grade.

Chastain’s other entry, Zero Dark Thirty, fell only 28 percent in its sophomore weekend of wide release to $17.6 million, which brought the Osama Bin Laden huntdown’s total to $55.9 million. Controversy continues to boost the Kathryn Bigelow-directed drama’s profile, but great word-of-mouth seems to be playing just as big of a role in Zero Dark Thirty‘s success.

It’s fair to say that Chastain’s presence in both Mama and Zero Dark Thirty had little to do with each film’s successful box office performance. Neither was marketed on her appeal, and yet, that doesn’t take away from her achievement.

Silver Linings Playbook performed very nicely in its nationwide expansion. Upon jumping from 810 to 2,523 theaters, Playbook increased 126 percent to $11.4 million, which brings its total to $55.3 million so far. (Kudos to the Weinstein Co. for its deftly executed platform strategy. If they had opened Silver Linings Playbook in wide release, as planned, we almost certainly wouldn’t be talking about it 10 weeks later.) In the month leading up to Oscar season, good word-of-mouth may continue to carry Silver Linings Playbook to a total as high as $100 million.

In fourth place, Warner Bros.’ crime drama Gangster Squad fell 47 percent to $9.1 million, giving the $60 million Sean Penn/Josh Brolin action flick an unremarkable $32.2 million total after ten days.

Still, Gangster Squad’s second weekend was better than the debuts of new releases Broken City and The Last Stand, which both flopped out of the gate. Fox’s $35 million Broken City, which stars the usually reliable Mark Wahlberg alongside Russell Crowe, drew only $9.0 million worth of tickets from 2,620 theaters, while Lionsgate’s $45 million The Last Stand, an Arnold Schwarznegger film, fared even worse with a puny $6.3 million. Both films played primarily to older male audiences (who are also seeing Zero Dark Thirty and Gangster Squad), and they may have cannibalized each other over their first three days.

1. Mama – $28.1 million
2. Zero Dark Thirty – $17.6 million
3. Silver Linings Playbook – $11.4 million
4. Gangster Squad – $9.1 million
5. Broken City – $9.0 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, which will cover the four-day holiday weekend.

For more box office musing and updates:

RELATED Box office update: ‘Mama’ scares up $10 million Friday

Box office update: 'Mama' scares up $10 million on Friday; Arnold Schwarznegger's latest D.O.A.

Mama just killed a man. Well, a whole bunch of men, actually. Namely, Arnold Schwarznegger, Russell Crowe, and Mark Wahlberg.

Universal’s $15 million Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror film Mama easily topped the box office on Friday with a sizzling $10 million, putting it on pace for a shriek-worthy $31 million over the four-day frame. Mama will become the second straight chart-topper for star Jessica Chastain, who reigned atop the box office last week with Zero Dark Thirty. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Mama' may take Jessica Chastain to No. 1 (again) over holiday weekend

Jessica Chastain is having a banner week. On Sunday, the statuesque actress won a Golden Globe for her performance in Zero Dark Thirty, which simultaneously topped the box office with $24.4 million. Tomorrow, Chastain will attempt to replace herself at the top of the chart with the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror flick Mama. And she’s done all this while still performing in Broadway’s The Heiress!

Mama isn’t the only new entry this weekend. The Mark Wahlberg/Russell Crowe thriller Broken City will face the Arnold Schwarznegger vehicle The Last Stand in a quest to win over male action fans. Oscar hopeful Silver Linings Playbook is also moving into wide expansion, giving many audiences their first opportunity to see the award-festooned dramedy.

Here’s how the box office may shake out over the four-day holiday weekend:

1. Mama – $21 million
As Texas Chainsaw 3D proved two weekends ago, horror movies play well in January, and Universal’s latest effort, Mama, which boasts a slim $15 million budget, should have no trouble scoring a solid opening weekend. Jessica Chastain’s increased awards season visibility should lift the film’s prospects, as will the cache of Del Toro’s producing credit. Of course, hordes of horror-loving teens, who don’t care much about awards prestige, will likely make up the most substantial part of the audience, and in 2,647 theaters, Mama could scare up just over $20 million in its first four days. READ FULL STORY

A Brother Goes it Alone: Allen Hughes on directing his first solo feature, 'Broken City'

Twin-brother directors Albert and Allen Hughes have been making movies together ever since their mother bought them a video camera when they were 12 years old. For as long as they can remember, they split everything down the middle: “My mom raised us as communists in the best sense of the word,” says Allen Hughes, 40. “We had the same amount of Kool-Aid, the same number of Cheerios.” But being part of a directing team is like being in a band; no matter how much success you may have together – and over the past two decades, the Hughes brothers have had plenty, from their breakout 1993 debut Menace II Society to their 2001 thriller From Hell to their 2010 postapocalyptic action film The Book of Eli – there comes a time when you feel the itch to go solo. “As you get older, you get on different pages,” says Allen, who acknowledges that working with Albert had its stormy moments. “Just ask Fleetwood Mac about that.”

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'Broken City' star Jeffrey Wright talks Mark Wahlberg, 'Catching Fire,' and Sundance -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

Jeffrey Wright is the kind of weighty actor that directors fiend for, able to handle both indie and big budget movies, down-in-the-dirt roles and parts that require square-jawed strength.

So it’s no surprise Wright took on the intense role of police commissioner Carl Fairbanks in the upcoming political thriller Broken City, directed by Menace II Society filmmaker Allen Hughes and out in theaters Jan. 18. Co-starring Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop who is hired by a corrupt mayor (Russell Crowe) to photograph his cheating glam wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the noir-ish movie explodes into a full-out scandal laced with murder.

Check out an exclusive clip from the film, below, in which Wright has a heated chat with Wahlberg at a crime scene. EW spoke with Wright about exploring the confines of power in Broken City and working with Wahlberg, playing a much different down-and-out character in The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, which premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and taking on the part of District 3 tribute Beetee in The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire and working with Jennifer Lawrence.

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'Broken City' trailer: Russell Crowe 'owns' Mark Wahlberg as Kanye West's 'Power' booms

Kanye West’s raw tune “Power” takes on new, darker meaning in the new trailer for Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ upcoming New York City-set political thriller Broken City, out Jan. 18. There’s power, and then there’s POWER, the kind that wiggles into your soul and rips it apart.

“There are some wars you fight, and some wars you walk away from. This is the fighting kind,” boasts Wahlberg as an ex-NY cop hired by Crowe, an ever-smiling, scheming mayor, to track down the guy sleeping with his wife, played by buxom, beautiful Zeta-Jones. There are twists and turns, illicit photos and violent car chases, and Crowe snarling to Wahlberg “I own you” as the thumping beats of West’s song pound out the cry to war. Check it out below:  READ FULL STORY

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