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Zero Dark Thirty tops US charts following Best Picture Oscar nom

Zero Dark Thirty snagged the number one spot on the US charts. Star Jessica Chastain won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama and has been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar.

Director Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt-for-bin Laden espionage thriller Zero Dark Thirty expanded to 2,937 cinemas in the US this weekend following the announcement of the Oscar nominations, earning $24 million and topping the domestic charts. The critically lauded and politically controversial film scored four Oscar nominations, including a coveted Best Picture nod. Lead actress Jessica Chastain also picked up the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama at the ceremony last night. The film will be released in the UK Jan. 25.

On the international charts, Life of Pi and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey once again took the top two spots, earning $33.2 million and $26.1 million respectively. Life of Pi has now grossed an impressive $357.4 million overseas, while The Hobbit soared past the $600 million mark in international sales, landing at $608 million so far. The fantasy prequel by Peter Jackson placed sixth on the US charts, earning $9.1 million.

In a surprise feat, Paranormal Activity spoof A Haunted House came in second on the US charts with $24 million, beating the star-studded crime drama Gangster Squad, which came in third with $16.7 million. Exit polls suggest the parody’s success was fueled by African-American and Latino moviegoers, who made up 78% of the audience together. Gangster Squad, which stars Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, and Josh Brolin, somehow missed the mark and actually experienced a sharper decline in sales over the course of the weekend than A Haunted House. Gangster Squad placed sixth internationally with $9.1 million.

Rounding out the top five in the US were Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained with $11.6 million and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables with $10.1 million. Les Mis ranked third internationally with $25.5 million. Both Oscar Best Picture nominees broke records – Django surpassed Inglourious Basterds as Tarantino’s highest-grossing movie ever, having earned $125.4 million, while Les Miserables achieved the biggest opening ever for a musical in the UK, earning $13.4 million.

Fourth and fifth at the international box office were Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise with $17.6 million and animated family film Wreck-It Ralph with $11.6 million.

Last week’s number one US film, Texas Chainsaw 3D, experienced a sharp drop from $23 million last weekend to $5.2 million this weekend, which is on par with the pattern of other horror flicks including last January’s The Devil Inside. It trailed Lincoln with $6.3 million and Parental Guidance with $6.1 million. Indie dramedy Silver Linings Playbook had its best weekend yet, boosted by a Best Picture nomination and a gradual expansion, earning $5 million.

Next weekend’s major US releases include Jessica Chastain-starring horror film Mama, crime thriller Broken City and action flick The Last Stand, while Django Unchained will debut in the UK.

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