The first busy weekend in January fell upon Martin Luther King Day weekend, and the box office was surprisingly up from last year (the top ten grossed $107.9 million, as opposed to 2012's $103 million).
(Since it was a four-day weekend, the box office figures given are based on the four-day actuals given by Box Office Mojo on January 22)
Horror film Mama took the top spot with $32.1 million, which translates to a very impressive $12,145 per-theater average. This is quite unusual seeing this is the highest gross for a supernatural horror film not taking advantage of the the found footage craze. In fact, Mama's opening grosses were actually higher than Guillermo Del Toro's last film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark total domestic grosses ($24 million). However, don't get too excited by these figures. Horror films, especially ones that open early in the year, are notoriously front-loaded, so it's probable that Mama will take a dramatic drop in its second week. A good example of this principle is Texas Chainsaw 3D, which opened two weeks ago, bled out 75.7% in its second week, and dropped another 72.9% this weekend, making it almost certain the film will not last much longer at the box office.
Golden Globe winner Jessica Chastain impressively took the top two positions at the box office this weekend, with Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty taking the number two spot with $18.6 million. The controversial thriller eased 23.9%, which, though not terrible, is the biggest drop of any of the Oscar nominees (even including Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was re-released in theaters this weekend), more than likely due to the fact audiences aren't as enamored with the movie as critics are.
Silver Linings Playbook, taking advantage of the excellent word of mouth, recent Oscar nods, and star Jennifer Lawrence's win at the Golden Globes, expanded to 2,523 theaters over the four-day weekend, amassing an excellent $12.7 million, which translated to a $5,050 per-theater average. Director David O. Russell's dramatic comedy has now earned $56.7 million, which is very close to Zero Dark Thirty's $56.9 million total -- quite impressive, seeing that Silver Linings just barely went into wide release after 10 weeks, and is still in less theaters than Zero Dark Thirty.
Gangster Squad took a 40.7% second-week dive, grossing $10.1 million, bringing its 11-day total to $33.2 million, which, while fairly common with January releases, isn't entirely great. It may not be a bomb, but it's far from a hit.
Neo-noir thriller Broken City did not fair well this weekend, totaling a mere $9.54 million, barely eking out last week's A Haunted House, which took in $9.47 million, taking a hold of the fifth and sixth spots respectively. While touting a cast featuring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Broken City failed to have mass appeal, its story seeming more geared towards a limited release film such as similarly-themed The Ides of March, which will probably mean a short lifespan for the film.
Django Unchained and Les Miserables, two other films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, took the seventh and eighth spots with $9.2 million and $9 million respectively. Both films continue to impress with their wonderful runs (Django is at $139 million, while Les Mis is not far behind at $131 million), and will more than likely continue earning at this pace until the Oscars are handed out on February 24.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey fell into ninth place with $7.6 million, bringing the total to $288.6 million. Though it's still tracking behind The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Journey is tracking more than The Fellowship of the Rings, which seems like a more reasonable comparison, seeing that Journey is the first installment of a brand new trilogy.
The Last Stand, Arnold Schwarzenegger's first starring role in almost a decade, failed to garner much interest, earning a paltry $7.2 million, which was good enough for last place in the Top 10. The horrible earnings and less-than-perfect reviews make it seem like Schwarzenegger's comeback is going to be a long and rough road ahead, leaving the fate of his acting career to rest on the shoulders of The Tomb (Sept. 27), which stars action pal Sylvester Stallone, and Ten (Jan. 24, 2014) -- shoulders that, at this point, seem shaky at best.