#1 'Zero Dark Thirty' Widens For $24M, 'Haunted House' Beats Disappointing 'Gangster Squad' For #2; 'Silver Linings', 'Lincoln', 'Life Of Pi' Get Oscar Bumps

SUNDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: Looks like Sony Pictures, Amy Pascal, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal should stop worrying about all those torture scene critics in Hollywood and Washington DC. Not only did the controversy fuel filmgoers’ curiosity across the country this weekend but also inside the U.S. intelligence community. Sources tell me that as Zero Dark Thirty broke nationwide, the #1 theater in the country Friday was just minutes from CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA. The top 2 of 3 screens Friday and Saturday were Tysons Corner 16 in McLean, VA, and then Hoffman 22 in Alexandria, VA. The big story is that Best Picture candidate Annapurna Pictures/Sony Pictures’ expansion made it Bigelow’s top-grossing pic. “The public has spoken,” a Sony exec told me, referring to the Academy’s snubbing her for a Best Director nod. Domestically it was #1 today and for the weekend by a lot. The hunt for Bin Laden pic made more than I’d expected given its long 2-hour 37-minute running time. However, it’s got 5 fresh Oscar nominations to help marketing after playing in NYC and LA only since mid-December. According to exit polls, 59% of the opening weekend audience for the film was male/41% was female, and 38% was under 30 years of age/62% was older than 30. Filmgoers gave the pic an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore.

Open Road Films’ newcomer, R-rated spoof A Haunted House, was helped by being the marketplace’s only new comedy. It surprisingly came in #2 even with a ‘B-‘ CinemaScore. But upstart Open Road sure knows of late how to open films and keeps having successful debuts.

I said “not so fast” Friday midday when Warner Bros/Village Roadshow were bumping fists and believing their Gangster Squad felt like #1. “The tracking is very good. Excellent support from all quadrants,” a WB exec gushed to me at the time. Nope. After making a so-so $650K in midnight shows, it opened less than its expected $20M which in and of itself was $10M less than I’d expect Gangster‘s so-called starpower of Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone to goose gross. But none of them can open a movie. (Remember how 1976’s Bugsy Malone cast moppets in the mob roles? This pic reeks of that.) Reviews were underwhelming although audiences gave Gangster Squad a ‘B+’ CinemaScore which should have helped word of mouth but didn’t. Gross went down -8% from Friday to Saturday. More analysis Sunday morning.

Previous frontrunner, The Weinstein Company’s R-rated Django Unchained, came in #4 beating Universal’s Les Miserables whose successful run just picked up more momentum with those 8 Academy Award nods. Tom Hooper’s musical is shattering records in its British debut.

As far as Oscar bumps, The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook took the biggest jump after 8 Academy Award nods (+57% on Thursday and +36% on Friday). Followed by DreamWorks/Fox/Disney’s Lincoln after 12 (+43% on Thursday and +15% on Friday), and then 20th Century Fox’s Life Of Pi after 11 (+29% on Thursday but now playing in only 757 theaters).

The Top 10 movies based on weekend estimates are:

1. Zero Dark Thirty (Annapurna/Sony) Week 4 (Runs 2,937) R
Friday $9.0M, Saturday $9.3M, Weekend $24.0M, Cume $29.4M

2. A Haunted House (Open Road) NEW [Runs 2,160] R
Friday $6.7M, Saturday $7.5M, Weekend $18.8M

3. Gangster Squad (Village Roadshow/Warner Bros) NEW (Runs 3,103) R
Friday $6.6M, Saturday $6.2M, Weekend $16.7M

4. Django Unchained (Weinsteiin) Week 3 [Runs 3,012] R
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.7M, Weekend $11.9M, Cume $125.4M

5. Les Miserables (Working Title/Universal) Week 3 [Runs 2,928] PG13
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $9.7M, Cume $118.7M

6. The Hobbit 3D (MGM/Warner Bros) Week 5 [Runs 3,012] PG13
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $9.0M, Cume $278.1M

7. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 10 [Runs 2,027] PG13
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.7M,Weekend $6.2M, Cume $152.4M

8. Parental Guidance (Fox) Week 3 [Runs 2,957] PG
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.8M,Weekend $6.1M, Cume $60.7M

9. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (Lionsgate) Week 2 [Runs 2,659] R
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.2M, Cume $30.8M

10. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 90 [Runs 890] R
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.0M, Cume $41.3M

  1. How has Silver Linings’ per screen average been “uninpressive??” It was the second highest yesterday behind ZDT and it hasn’t even gone wide yet.

  2. erm most prognosticators expected ZD30 to win and noone had Gangster anywhere near 30M. Why would you expect that?

  3. Nikki, hope you’re feeling better!

    I suspect this may be a weak box-office weekend, especially tomorrow and Sunday (January 12th and 13th), given the NFL playoff games this weekend will be strong competition.

    Next weekend (January 19th-20th), the box-office numbers may improve (since there will be no NFL games on Saturday), but there is a forecast for extremely cold weather across almost all of the “lower 48″ states which could also hurt the box-office.

    1. I don’t believe cold weather has an impact on box office. Unlike a snowstorm, it doesn’t impair your ability to drive to the theater. Speaking of which, I’m surprised Zero Dark and Gangster Squad are opening within expectations, considering Gandolf (the blizzard, not the wizard) is ravaging part of the country.

  4. 0D30 will drop fast. The top three will all end lower than your predictions. Winter storms may keep many away from the movies.

    1. I think 0D30 would probally top out around 27 mil if it hits 11 mil today, it would probally have to hit 13 mil or so to assure a 30 mil weekend.

  5. Zero Dark is awesome, but Gangster Squad is fun and a lot better than the reviews have been saying. Did not see Haunted House but I can safely assume it’s ass cheese. These results do not surprise me.

    1. I agree, I’ve been looking forward to Gangster Squad for almost a year now and I’ve been telling people that if you loved the trailer, you’ll love the movie. It was such a cheesy throwback, but hell if it wasn’t fun. One of the better guilty pleasures of the year (I say that because it was supposed to come out in 2012 but was held back because of the Aurora shootings.) I lowered my expectations after the reviews started to emerge, maybe that’s why I loved it so much. I think critics were too tough and didn’t “get” the tongue in cheek approach of it all.

  6. Saw “Gangster Squad” this afternoon with a half-full house. Movie is really kind of “meh,” huh? Feels like they gambled on a hot director and he couldn’t deliver outside his comfort zone.

    1. Hey Warner Brothers! Rethinking your writer on the Justice League movie yet? If not you should be! No wonder you don’t have a director yet. FAIL!!! The Justice League movie with either a) never get made or b) suck major donkey d#%k. Either way it’s due to Warner Brother’s ineptness – a true fanboy

      1. Every decision the current heads of DC Comics at Warners make in features is Bad. (and the current crop had nothing to do with Nolan getting to do Batman.)

        Marvel is making billions with their heroes, and most of the movies are pretty darn good. And Dc… is trying to get a wonder woman pilot going on the CW. (they tried to do a WW pilot a couple years ago, and it was as embarrassing as the Aquaman pilot.)

        They threw out Whedon’s WW script. The DC side threw out fast-tracked movies for Shazam and The Flash — those had good scripts. Now who’s writing those movies? Geoff Johns (DC’s CCO) is writing them HIMSELF. his credits — he’s written two episodes of Smallville. And they hired the turkeys who wrote Green Lantern to write their other Hero movies. Green Lantern was horrible. It was like being trapped at a party by some nerd with Cheetos breath, explaining who green lantern was to you, for two hours.

        DCs comics at Warners needs to clean house. Maybe superman’ll be good but… that director usually strikes out, and the commercials look like a 1980s Calvin Klein jeans commercial.

    1. Not me. I have seen “Django” twice already and going for a third time in the near future. Excellent flick.

    2. I loved the first hour or so, then became more and more bored and by the end was just about catatonic. I had to sit through till the crawl for professional reasons. If it had been my dime I would have been out of there as well. As always, though, I won’t detract from those who enjoyed it, however in need of serious, ongoing and continuous therapy they might be.

      1. @Ripsnorter – So just because some people enjoyed the whole damn film they’re all of a sudden in need of some serious therapy, man get outta here with that nonsense you talking about. You did’nt enjoy the whole film fine, but don’t try to sneak little backhanded remarks in there about people because you disagreed with them about the film. Come on now, you can show more common sense than that buddy.

      1. And that’s why they make many different types of movies for the many different types of movie goers. What a concept?

      1. “There’s something wrong with individuals who walk out of movies that they’ve paid for.”

        Actually, they are acting rationally. Look up the term, “Sunk cost.” You’ll see why.

  7. Where to begin? Gangster Squad is a stupid title for starters. Doesn’t sound badass to young males, and sounds downright goofy to everyone else. Sean Penn is looking long in the tooth and his make up looks bad, like he’s starring in some old Dick Tracy outtakes from the 90s. Middle aged Jeff Spiccoli is not a draw as the tough guy that he envisions himself as. He was better cast in Carlito’s Way as the nebbishy lawyer with a perm who thought he was tougher than he was. Gangster Squad’s whole vibe is old-fashioned, like some period film made in the 80s, versus being retro cool. It just has zero youth appeal in it’s look or execution… did they make this film for boomers and oldsters? Scarface, Goodfellas, Casino, and LA Confidential have nothing to fear from “Gangster Squad!” They made a self-indulgent mess designed to appeal to… No one exactly. Good riddance to a bad movie designed to appeal to Sean Penn’s dreams of being DeNiro,

    1. I think they thought there were getting another LA Confidential. They did not get another LA Confidential.

    2. Mob Movie Fan, 1. Nothing wrong with the title. What would you propose as a ´bad-ass enough´ tile to entice ´younger males´? 2. The films you are citing, i.e. Scarface, Good Fellas, Casino, etc., are films made by people who would now be ´boomers and oldsters´ and which, as you say, have nothing to fear from Gangster Squad. 3. If there is a reason why I would bother to watch this film is Sean Penn, who is a giant compared to the ´moppets´in the film, as Finke defines them.

  8. I saw Gangster Squad yesterday & it’s definitely better than some of the reviews out there. It reminds me a lot of The Untouchables which is of course the gold standard for this genre. I’m hoping when the home video comes out they’ll have the the scene at the Graumans Chinese theater available to view that was understandably removed after the Colorado shooting.

  9. I am a big movie buff and i think 2012 was the best year for great movies but it concerns me with all of these remakes they are doing and 2013 more are on the way has hollywood run out of new material or have they become lazy please no more remakes or bringing old movies back in 3D keep it fresh and you will keep us coming back for more ! In 2012 overall i give hollywood an A- thats based on the 113 movies i seen at the Box Office.

    1. @jaime – Wow, that’s impressive. And here i thought i saw a lot of films in 2012, but you blow me right out the water, lol.

  10. Why is it taking so long for Silver Linings Playbook to expand? It’s been out in Ireland & England for the past month & a half. Loads have seen it.

  11. How exactly is The Hobbit a “megahit”? It may not even get to $300m. The Avengers (600m) was a mega hit. TDKR (450M) was a mega hit. The Hobbit is merely a reasonable hit (and before some smart ass starts quoting overseas numbers, don’t bother – I’m talking domestic ONLY).

    1. It’s the lowest grossing Lord of the Rings movie, domestic and international. the other three each outgrossed the last — this one fell short of the first one. It’s over 200 million shy of Return of the King.

      I wonder if TWO really good The Hobbit movies might have even outgrossed THREE padded ones?

    2. @huh? – I understand where you coming from, i think some people we’re overestimating “The Hobbit’s” box office potential. That being said it’s going to eventually reach 300m domestic. The numbers “The Avengers”(623m) & “TDKR”(448m) made we’re amazing, 3rd & 7th all time domestic respectively. I think the more interesting question is will “The Hobbit” or “Skyfall” make more domestic, both will reach 300m.

    3. There is a world outside the USA….. and world wide its gross is nearing 1 BILLION DOLLARS. Thats how it is a mega hit.

    4. Why are you talking domestic only? The money counts wherever it comes from. Regardless, it will ABSOLUTELY break 300. That’s patently obvious. So it will end up as one of the 5 biggest domestic films of the past year, and – I know, you don’t care – one of the 15 biggest movies all time worldwide. How is that not a megahit? Four domestic megahits a year seems fair to me. But mostly, I think the narrative is such that Nikki is calling it a megahit as a reminder that not opening to 200 million doesn’t mean you’re not massive. Avengers isn’t a megahit – it’s in another category above that.

      1. @Max – You make some fine points there. I also agree about “The Avengers”, it’s beyond a massive hit and one of those rare extraordinary smashes like “Star Wars”, “ET”, “Jaws”, “Titanic” & “Avatar”. “The Hobbit” is indeed going to end up as one of the 5-6 biggest domestic hits of the year, depending on if it can pass “Skyfall” or not. But i agree, it’s a megahit. But you have to make it 5 domestic megahits from 2012, because you can’t forget “Skyfall”.

        1. A film that fails to make $300 million domestic ISN’T a “megahit.” Hobbit is going to struggle to do so, and will barely make it if it does.

    5. Yeah, because so many movies reach 300 millions every year… No big deal…. 3 movies reached past 300 millions in 2012. Avengers, Batman and Hunger Games. Skyfall may reach it eventually.

      Every movie that reaches (or is near) 300 millions is mega hit. I’m personally surprised that Hobbit holds on so good and still get 8 millions on weekend. There is no battle for saving the world, no ring to destroy, no pretty Legolas, Frodo, Aragorn. No cool and cute Team that goes to destroy ring. Hobbit has not so pretty Bilbo and gnomes who go on adventure. I’m surprised that Hobbit got almost 300. I expected it to have around 200 millions.

      1. @Shy Really? You expected Hobbit to get only 200 million when it’s following a popular 300+ trilogy and has got 3D, imax etc ticket premiums to boot?

        Hobbit is doing okay, but its box office is underwhelming. More chicks might have helped. Not inflating to three movies might have helped. Not casting white Brit dudes for effing everything might have helped even more.

        ps I own all three LOTR extended DVDs and I’m not touching this movie.

  12. The controversy has mainly been among liberals. The conservatives love the film because they believe it vindicates Bush’s use of torture. That’s some endorsement.

    I hope people who care protest the movie at the Academy at the Oscars.

    1. Get a grip. Only idiotic nimcompoops are protesting the film “ZDT” because they think it fits their agenda. Anyone with a thinking brain would come out of this film thinking it is apolitical. The so call harsh interrogation scenes are a depiction of what took place not one of a ringing endorsement of the technique and anyone seeing the film other than those trying to find something they can use to further their cause would know this much. BTW, “ZDT” is an excellent film IMHO.

      1. I thought the controversy was over the fact that the torture didn’t occur at all or, if it did, it didn’t lead to the capture of Bin Laden.

    1. Thank you. I am not alone. And wasn’t it weird that he was cured of bi-polar simply after his mother told him to start taking his pills? Oy.

  13. Taste is subjective. My taste is that “Django” is the best picture of 2012, followed by “Moonrise Kingdom” and then “Lincoln”. To me, “Django” is strikingly original and provocative. I highly recommend any cinema buff to see this movie and judge for yourself.

    1. Pertaining to “Django U” it seems judging from the box office revenues many others are thinking like you. Excellent and thoroughly entertaining film.

  14. I don’t believe for a second that controversy is fueling box office for zero or for django. People are going because of the awards talk and subject matter.

  15. Looks like “Jack Reacher” won’t make it over the finish line, but foreign returns will probably compensate. I wonder if they’ll make a sequel given the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the miscasting of Cruise, as well as the lackluster writing and directing from his latest “friend of Xenu.” Too bad, as those books are great. I would have cast Channing.

    1. I’m not so sure about foreign picking up where ‘Reacher’ has fallen in the U.S. Poor reviews in the UK and Germany, to cite but two, weak buzz and word of mouth. I’m not saying it will be a total loss but given this was intended to be a new launch platform / franchise for Cruise then it’s a definite no-sale. Wait ten or fifteen years for a reboot and try again.

      1. gangster squad now thats a flop 75 mil budget and only 17 mil opening

        Raecher is a hit but it might not get a sequel, doesnt change the facts its hit.

        Moneyball 50 mil budget only made 110 worldwide

        Safe house 85 mil budget only made 207 worldwide and is called a huge hit, reacher will out gross it easy.

        Argo 45 mil budget made 166 mil worldwide and is hit, reacher will out gross it.

    2. Budgets 60 million dumbass! and its already at 125 worldwide before Asia.
      Xmwn first class had a 160 mil budget but only made 146 domestic, yet its getting a sequel!

      Weather u like it or not Reachers a hit go drink your Cruise haterade somewhere else Katie!

    3. It is fact that Jack Reacher will finish over 80Mil domestic and worldwide past 250Mil with a 60mil budget, no tell me that it is a flop? And also remember that it is not a sequel and out to market with a horrible timing considering the incident of new town, and going to competition with oscar material movies.

  16. Only $25m for ZD30? Guess all that best picture mega-hype isn’t doing much for widening the potential audience, but then again, it doesn’t stand up to the hype at all so maybe word of mouth is getting out about the uneven directing and shoddy acting.

  17. No surprise that Gangster Squad is a bomb. There’s another stinker from Langley Park Pix…Warner needs to pull the plug on them and stop the bleeding.

  18. ““The public has spoken,” a Sony exec told me Friday night”

    Yes, and the public said not very many people wanted to see this movie. Crowing about $25m? Really?

    Or perhaps the word of mouth on the uneven directing, amateurish acting and horrible score are getting out?

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