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Weekend Box Office: Zero Dark Thirty Nabs First, A Haunted House a Surprising Second

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By Chris Kavan - 01/13/13 at 09:16 PM CT

It was a good weekend for new films, as all three new wide releases finished in the top three spots at the box office, though the order of those movies wound up a bit of a surprise. Still, with the Golden Globes tonight and Oscars on the way, several films with awards ties managed to get a good bump as well.

1) ZERO DARK THIRTY

Critics, controversy and award possibilities helped this hunt for bin Laden drama to a first place finish with $24 million. It managed to top the opening for both Lincoln ($21 million) and Argo ($19.5 million) though it couldn't match the openings for the military-themed Black Hawk Down ($28.6 million) or Act of Valor ($24.5 million). The movie drew a slightly more male (59%) and older (62% over 30) audience, and they awarded it a solid A- cinemascore. If it continues on its current course, a final tally right around $100 million should be in the cards.

2) A HAUNTED HOUSE

In a surprising second place, the horror spoof A Haunted House with Marlon Wayans managed to scare up $18.8 million in second place. It's the best opening for a spoof movie since 2006 when Date Movie opened with $19.1 million. Sadly, it means we're probably going to be seeing more of these so-called "comedies". It earned a somewhat tepid B-, so I expect it to drop in the coming weeks - winding up somewhere between $35-$40 million when it ends its run.

3) GANGSTER SQUAD

Despite an all-star cast featuring the likes of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the action film had to settle for third place with $16.7 million. That's nowhere near as good as the opening for similarly-themed Public Enemies ($25.3 million). Luckily the younger stars drew in a younger audience (58% under 35) and they awarded it a B+ meaning a finish in the $50 million range may be possible. That still has to be seen as a bit of a disappointment considering the talent involved - the critical reception has been pretty ho-hum too.

4) DJANGO UNCHAINED

Although quite a few films enjoyed an awards bump, you can't really count Django Unchained amongst them. The film took a 44.7% hit and dropped to 4th place with just over $11 million. The film has earned $125.4 million and officially became Quentin Tarantion's highest-grossing film (not adjusted for inflation) topping the $120.5 million that Inglourious Basterds made. Maybe a couple of Golden Globe wins will help it make a recovery.

5) LES MISERABLE

The musical also fell, this time 37%, and wound up in fifth with $10.1 million. The $119.2 million it has earned moved it up to fifth on the musicals list (passing Hairspray's $118.87 million) and it should be able to move up to fourth by next weekend. We'll see if the Golden Globes help it along as well.

Outside the top five: both Lincoln and The Silver Linings Playbook gained position thanks to some awards recognition. Lincoln moved up from 8ths to 7th place (and a 16.6% gain in attendance) and took in $6.3 million and help it cross the $150 million threshold with a $152.5 million total. It's Steven Spielberg's 12th film to cross that mark.

Meanwhile, Silver Linings moved from 12th place to 10th place, a healthy 38.2% audience increase for a $5 million take, increasing its total to $41.3 million. It's the best weekend for the film yet, but expect that to fall next week when it finally expands to 2500 theaters - nationwide - where general audiences should help it along.

Last week's surprise first-place film, Texas Chainsaw 3D, took a spectacular 76.3% fall - a huge number even for a horror film - and landed in 9th with $5.15 million. The film has earned $30.7 million so far and it will struggle to make it to $40 million.

Next week the action film The Last Stand (with Arnold Sschwarzeneggar) the horror film Mama and crime/drama Broken City (with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe) with compete with the awards show darlings for the box office crown.

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