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Jessica Chastain dominates box office with Mama, Zero Dark Thirty

Awarded a Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated for her role in Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain topped the box office this week for her role in another film, horror flick Mama.

Two drastically different films starring Jessica Chastain took the top spots at the US box office this Martin Luther King weekend. Mama, the Guillermo del Toro-helmed horror flick, surprised forecasters by raking in a whopping $28.1 million in its opening weekend and ranking first. While the film was predicted by many to come in at number one, its earnings were expected to be in the mid-teens. Zero Dark Thirty came in second with $17.6 million following Chastain’s Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Drama last Sunday. While Zero Dark is likely cashing in on Chastain’s awards buzz, the advertising campaign for Mama actually neglected to use the star’s name, instead focusing on director Guillermo del Toro and his draw for the horror crowd. Mama will be released in the UK late February.

At the international box office, Django Unchained took the top spot with $48.1 million and ranked seventh in the US with $8.2 million, for a worldwide gross of $186.8 million so far. Writer/Director Quentin Tarantino also scored a Golden Globe last weekend for Best Screenplay. Life of Pi took second on the international charts with $20.7 million, continuing to build on its astonishing $493.1 million worldwide gross so far.

In the US, Silver Linings Playbook finally expanded nationwide after nine weeks in limited release and ranked third with $11.4 million. The indie dramedy had already racked up $43.3 million during its slow roll-out, and was poised to do well in wide release based on good word of mouth and awards recognition. Star Jennifer Lawrence picked up for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. Fourth on the US charts was Gangster Squad with $9.1 million, dropping 46.6% from its opening weekend.

Third on the international charts was Les Miserables, taking in $19.4 million. The musical ranked eighth on the US charts with $7.8 million, continuing a healthy run in its fourth week of release. Fourth internationally was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with $13.2 million abroad. The fantasy epic ranked ninth in the US with $6.4 million, and has garnered almost no awards recognition despite the prestige of its Lord of the Rings predecessors.

In the US, detective drama Broken City starring Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Russell Crowe debuted in fifth place with $9 million. The thriller’s generic marketing campaign appears to have earned it little attention. Broken City opens in the UK early March. Paranormal Activity spoof A Haunted House dropped 54% from its opening weekend and ranked sixth with $8.3 million.

Next on the international charts was Jack Reacher in fifth with $11.8 million and Wreck-It Ralph, which has had a remarkably long chart presence since its US release in early November, now ranking sixth on the international charts with $8.2 million for a worldwide total gross of $354.2 million so far.

Tenth place on the US charts went to the tragic Arnold Schwarzenegger “comeback” vehicle The Last Stand, which flopped with a paltry $6.3 million in its debut weekend. The film marked Schwarzenegger’s first starring role since pre-governor fame in 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Next weekend’s US nationwide releases include Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters starring Jeremy Renner, comedy Movie 43, and action crime flick Parker starring Jennifer Lopez. In the UK, Movie 43, The Last Stand, and Zero Dark Thirty will open in wide release.

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