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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

'The Last Stand' new trailer: Forest Whitaker laments 'a psychopath in a Batmobile' -- VIDEO

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s craggy-faced action comeback in South Korean director Kim Jee-woon’s English language debut The Last Stand is only a month or so away, out in theaters Jan. 18, and the movie’s new trailer pulls out more one liners from the former California Governator, costar Forest Whitaker and goofy sidekick Johnny Knoxville.

Cars crash into each other in a corn field, big guns are shot, and Whitaker as a serious law enforcement agent laments “a psychopath in a Batmobile” racing towards the U.S.-Mexican border to face off against world-weary Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger plays border town Sheriff Ray Owens, who is backed by a ragtag group. Bug-eyed Knoxville, part of the team, chuckles to Schwarzenegger, handling a mega weapon, “Nice shooting, sheriff.” Check out the trailer, below:
READ FULL STORY

'The Last Stand' trailer: Quoth Schwarzenegger, 'I'm da sheriff'

Here is what you will see in the trailer for The Last Stand, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unretirement action film: Johnny Knoxville proudly addressing his personal chaingun as “my little Nazi killer”; Luis Guzman wielding a sword; a bad guy who drives a Zero One, which is “faster than any chopper”; Schwarzenegger saying the words “Gimme dat damn ting!”; Peter Stormare positively dripping with Stormarity; an action scene in the middle of a cornfield, clearly intended as an homage to North By Northwest; and, finally, Schwarzenegger helpfully explaining his role in the movie with a theater-exploding catchphrase, “I’m da sheriff!” Yes, friends, this is cinema. Watch the trailer: READ FULL STORY

Coming to America: South Korea's top directors on hitting Hollywood with English language films -- EXCLUSIVE

There’s a scene in South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s 2003 revenge classic Oldboy, currently being remade by Spike Lee, in which the film’s wild-haired, wild-eyed lead Min-sik Choi plops down at a restaurant and slurps on a huge fidgety live octopus, its long tentacles squirming out of his mouth. To American audiences, the moment may seem totally strange. But Park says the scene is less disgusting to Korean audiences. “They would be able to sympathize with the protagonist at that stage, who was incarcerated for 14 years,” he told EW. “He wants to eat something that is alive and moving. By chewing on this living thing, he’s venting his anger to an unknown protagonist.”

What is really gained, or lost, in translation? READ FULL STORY

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