Universal's Mama debuted with $32.15 million over the four-day frame to lead this weekend's holiday box office with ease. The PG-13 horror film starring Jessica Chastain grossed $28.40 million over the three-day frame, which represented the ninth largest three-day opening weekend ever for the month of January. Mama greatly exceeded pre-release expectations, which were in the $20 million range for the four-day frame. Clearly, Mama was helped out in a big way by the lack of non-R rated films in the current marketplace, especially among films released within the month of January. As evidence, the audience breakdown for Mama skewed heavily towards younger moviegoers (63 percent of the film's audience was under 25 and 35 percent of the film's audience was under 17). Mama also skewed towards female moviegoers (61 percent). Making this weekend's debut even sweeter was the film's production budget of just $15 million.
With a B- CinemaScore rating (which is very solid for a horror film) and all three of next weekend's wide releases being R-rated, Mama will have a good chance of holding up well next weekend by horror film standards. Internationally, Mama grossed $1 million from six smaller foreign markets this weekend.
Jessica Chastain also found herself in second place this weekend, as Sony's Zero Dark Thirty remained strong with a four-day take of $18.60 million. Strong word of mouth and continued Oscar Buzz continues to help the Best Picture nominee, which was down a solid 24 percent from last weekend's three-day frame. Zero Dark Thirty has grossed $56.95 million to date. That places the film 29 percent ahead of 2007's The Bucket List and 26 percent behind 2008's Gran Torino at the same point in their respective runs.
The Weinstein Company's Silver Linings Playbook had a healthy expansion this weekend with a third-place four-day gross of $12.74 million. After expanding into an additional 1,713 locations, the Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence was up a terrific 154 percent over last weekend's three-day frame. Silver Linings Playbook has grossed $56.69 million to date and should continue to remain a factor at the box office throughout the rest of the Oscar season.
Turning to the bad news this weekend, Fox's Broken City and Lionsgate's The Last Stand both proved to be major disappointments. Broken City debuted in sixth pace with a four-day take of $9.46 million, which represented Mark Wahlberg's poorest debut in years. Meanwhile Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback attempt, The Last Stand, landed all the way down in tenth with an estimated four-day gross of just $7.21 million. With so many other R rated films having been released into the marketplace over the past month, there was ultimately no demand for either Broken City or The Last Stand this weekend.
Two of last weekend's R-rated releases, Warner's Gangster Squad and Open Road's A Haunted House experienced relatively better results, but were still down significantly nonetheless. Gangster Squad placed in fourth with $10.13 million, while A Haunted House claimed fifth with $9.47 million. Respective percentage declines from last weekend's three-day frame were 41 percent for Gangster Squad and 48 percent for A Haunted House. Through eleven days, Gangster Squad has grossed $33.24 million. A Haunted House has grossed $31.09 million over the same span and boasts the far more impressive performance of the two films when taking price-tags into account.