It seems that classic horror icons still can kill, even if it is only a modest one.
Texas Chainsaw 3D, the only wide release this weekend, managed to eek out a minor victory over the favorites Django Unchained and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, claiming the top spot with $21.7 million. That is a bit better than the last installment, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, made in its opening weekend ($18.5 million), but was far from last year's The Devil Inside, which opened at $33.7 million. Slasher franchises like Texas Chainsaw are notoriously front-loaded, so it's probable that Chainsaw 3D will bleed out fast come next weekend.
Django Unchained was a very close second with $20.01 million. Quentin Tarantino's Western slave-trade revenge epic has now reached $106.3 million, and, with great word of mouth and possible awards buzz, Django is on track to be Tarantino's highest grossing film.
Though the grosses are still tracking behind any installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit is still having an impressive run, earning $17.5 million this weekend, landing Peter Jackson's new epic in third place. The first installment of the planned Hobbit trilogy has now grossed $263.8 million, and a gross north of $300 million seems plausible.
Les Miserables sang its way into fourth place with $16.02 million, which brought its impressive total to $103.5 million. Director Tom Hooper's adaptation of the popular musical continues to maintain strong grosses and word of mouth, especially with Anne Hathaway's award buzz.
Fox's family movie Parental Guidance fell into fifth place nicely with a weekend gross of $9.7 million, which brings its two-week total to $52.3 million, making it a modest holiday hit.
Meanwhile, the true hit this weekend was Zero Dark Thirty, which expanded to 60 theaters nationwide, earning a stunning $2.7 million. That equates to a very impressive $44,933 per-theater average, which foreshadows the kind of grosses it will earn when it goes nationwide this Friday in 2,400 theaters. Expected to expand in the weeks to come is Silver Linings Playbook, which earned $3.6 million this weekend in 745 theaters. With the Oscar nominations being announced this Thursday and the Golden Globes broadcast this Sunday, be expecting an expansion of foreign film favorite Amour and possibly a re-release of Ben Affleck's award favorite Argo.