ox office mavens had predicted that Mama, starring Jessica Chastain, would come out ahead at the weekend -- and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday -- box office, but no one had supposed that it would win as big as it has. The PG-13-rated horror film is on track to earn $28.1 million over the three-day weekend and $33 million over the four-, according to studio estimates. Most handicappers had figured it would wind up with around $20 million. The film, produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Andy Muschietti, cost just $15 million to make. Chastain also starred in the No. 2 film at the box office, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, which is likely to end up with around $17.6 million for the three-day weekend and $21.4 million for the holiday. Silver Linings Playbook, the recipient of a ton of Oscar nominations last week, took third place as it received a nationwide expansion. It had been receiving a slow platform release over the past 10 weeks, and the weekend result -- $11.35 million for three days, $14 million for four -- was also far higher than predicted. On the other hand, there was no happy news for two other weekend debuts. The Russell Crowe-Mark Wahlberg thriller Broken City opened with a disappointing $9.1 million/$11 million, far short of predictions of around $14 million. And Arnold Schwarzenneger received no warm welcome at all from moviegoers after a 10-year absence. His The Last Stand fell on its face with just $6.3 million between Friday and Sunday and another $1 million predicted for Monday.
The top ten films for the (three-day) weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Mama, $28.1 million; 2. Zero Dark Thirty, $17.6 million; 3. Silver Linings Playbook, $11.4 million; 4. Gangster Squad, $9.1 million; 5. Broken City, $9 million; 6. A Haunted House, $8.3 million; 7. Django Unchained, $8.2 million; 8. Les MisÃ©rables, $7.8 million; 9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, $6.4 million; 10. The Last Stand, $6.3 million.