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Texas Chainsaw 3D slashes weekend competition

Texas Chainsaw 3D surprised forecasters by beating out powerhouse awards contenders like Django Unchained and The Hobbit for the number one spot this weekend.

Surpassing expectations, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D opened at number one in the US this weekend, earning $23 million at the domestic box office. The horror exploitation-fest is the third in the series, following 2003’s remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and 2006’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. This most recent installment placed between those two for opening weekend haul, and looks to be following a standard front-loaded box office pattern for a horror film, with earnings declining over the course of the weekend. The only other market in which it was released was the UK, where it earned $550,000.

Not far behind ranking second was Quentin Tarantino’s slave revenge flick Django Unchained, which pulled in $20.1 million in its second weekend in the US. This puts the film on pace to out-gross Tarantino’s previously highest-earning film, Inglourious Basterds, which earned $120.5 million in its entire run. Django has already grossed $106.4 million, and has not yet been released overseas. The UK release is scheduled for Jan. 18.

Topping the international charts was Life of Pi in first with $60 million. Ang Lee’s existential 3D visual masterpiece has earned $91 million in the US, but has been doing much better business overseas, where it crossed the $300 million mark at the international box office this weekend for a worldwide total of $393 million so far.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ranked second overseas with $57.1 million and third in the US with $17.5 million in its fourth weekend. Despite mixed reviews, Peter Jackson’s fantasy adventure made more in its fourth week than any of the three preceding Lord of The Rings films.

Tom Hooper-directed Les Miserables took fourth place in the US, earning $16.1 million. Its total US gross to this point is $103.6 million, marking it as the fastest-earning musical ever. Internationally, the picture ranked fifth and made $14.5 million, trailing Wreck-It Ralph in fourth with $19.5 millon.

Parental Guidance scored fifth place on the US charts with $10.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $52.8 million so far. This number exceeded dubious expectations for the Billy Crystal and Bette Midler-starring comedy, but its family values have shown to be an advantage as it has played particularly well in the American Middle West. Overseas, the picture has earned $5 million.

Jack Reacher, the crime thriller starring Tom Cruise, continued to do solid business ranking sixth domestically in its third week with $9.3 million and placing third internationally with $22.3 million. On the US charts, it was followed by This Is 40 in seventh with $8.6 million, Lincoln in eighth with $5.3 million, disappointing comedy The Guilt Trip in ninth with $4.5 million and Matt Damon-starring topical drama Promised Land in tenth place with a measly $4.3 million in its first week of wide release.

With the Oscar nominations to be announced Thursday and The Golden Globes to air on Sunday, Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt-for-bin Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty is poised to take advantage of its awards attention by expanding to wide release in the US next weekend, with a late January release scheduled in the UK. Opening in the US next week is Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling-starring Gangster Squad, as well as Marlon Wayans’ Paranormal Activity spoof A Haunted House. Gangster Squad will also open in the UK along with Les Miserables.

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