The horror picture “Texas Chainsaw 3D” finished atop the box-office chart in the U.S. and Canada, generating $23 million for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF:US)
Last week’s No. 1 film, “The Hobbit,” dropped to third place, while “Django Unchained” finished second again, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e- mailed statement.
Receipts for all films rose 7 percent this past weekend from the year-earlier period, as studios and cinema operators build on an increase in movie-going that lifted domestic ticket sales to a record $10.8 billion in 2012. Attendance rose 6.5 percent last year on the strength of films such as “Marvel’s the Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” according to Box Office Mojo.
“The surprise winner this week speaks to the fact that there were no other major titles released,” said Paul Sweeney, media analyst at Bloomberg Industries in Skillman, New Jersey, in a telephone interview.
“Texas Chainsaw 3D” is the eighth in a series of horror films, sequels and remakes that began in 1974. In the new movie, a young woman is terrorized after inheriting an isolated Victorian mansion. The film features Alexandra Daddario, Scott Eastwood and Tania Raymonde.
Lions Gate finished seventh among major studios with box- office receipts of $791.7 million last year, trailing Sony’s Columbia at $1.79 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” from Weinstein Co., had sales of $20.1 million in second place. The film stars Jamie Foxx in the title role as a former slave.
Foxx’s character joins Christoph Waltz’s Dr. King Schultz, an abolitionist-minded bounty hunter, to collect rewards and save his wife, a slave held by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie. Samuel L. Jackson plays Candie’s house slave Stephen.
“The Hobbit,” based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book and produced by Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US)’s New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., had sales of $17.5 million.
Martin Freeman plays a young Bilbo Baggins on his first adventure outside the Shire. Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the wizard from the Rings trilogy, and Andy Serkis again plays Gollum. Baggins is recruited by Gandalf to join an expedition of dwarves seeking to reclaim their homeland and a treasure lost to the dragon Smaug.
U.S. and Canadian sales to date for “The Hobbit” total $263.8 million.
“Les Miserables,” based on Victor Hugo’s novel, took in $16.1 million in its second weekend of release to place fourth. The film from Comcast’s Universal Pictures features Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried in a musical drama set amid the social and political turmoil of 19th century France.
Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a reformed ex-convict who has been sought for years by the policeman Javert, played by Crowe, after he violated parole. Hathaway is the ill-fated Fantine, while Seyfried is her daughter, Cosette.
The family comedy “Parental Guidance” from News Corp.’s Fox Film, collected $10.1 million to finish in fifth place. The film stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler as a couple who must care for their unruly grandchildren.
“Promised Land,” starring Matt Damon, expanded to more screens, taking in $4.3 million and placing 10th.
Damon plays an energy company salesman who is hired to persuade small farmers to lease their land to an energy company for fracking, a process of using water and chemicals to force oil or gas from rock formations. The film, distributed by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA:US)’s Focus Features, also features Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook and John Krasinski.
“Zero Dark Thirty,” director Kathryn Bigelow’s account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, took in $2.8 million after expanding to 60 locations from five. The film is scheduled to begin running in about 2,400 theaters starting Jan. 11.
The picture, distributed by Sony Corp. (6758), is considered a probable Academy Award nominee in several categories, including best director and best picture, according to the website GoldDerby.com.
Sweeney said “Zero Dark Thirty’s” national distribution, combined with this coming week’s debut of “Gangster Squad,” starring Sean Penn, makes it likely that receipts will exceed those of the past weekend.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films was $126.3 million, unchanged from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Sales for the first six days of the year are $254.2 million, up 33 percent from a year ago. Attendance is up 33 percent.
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Jan. 4 and Jan. 5 and estimates for yesterday.
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