Along with New Year's Resolutions, there's one thing you can always count on in January: a horror movie. This year's Texas Chainsaw 3D played just as well as the previous franchise installment, earning $23.2 million and a spot in first place. That's not quite as good as Lionsgate's horror offering last year, the religious-themed chller The Devil Inside that opened to $33 million. The release also proved there's a new star on the rise. A third of the younger attendees came because of cast member Trey Songz, a hip-hop star known for his song with T.I., "Two Reasons." 52% of attendees were female and 64% under the age of 25.
In second place, Django Unchained showed stronger staying power than Les Miserables, earning $20.1 million to the musical's $16.1 million. Django has attracted a broad cross-section of viewers. This is the rare film that has huge support from both black and white audiences, and seekers of critically-acclaimed movies and a violent gore-fest. Soon, the movie's cumulative total will pass that of writer/director Quentin Tarantino's previous hit, Inglourious Basterds, which topped out at $120 million.
Matt Damon-led Promised Land, which expanded into 1,676 theatres averaged a respectable $2,5000 per screen for a total of $4.3 million. Considering its so-so critical reception, this message film's performance was right on target, even though it may seem low for a drama led by such a big star.
The Impossible showed strength as it expanded into 572 theatres and tallied up a total of $2.7 million with a $4,800 per-screen average. The nostalgic look at the 1960s from "The Sopranos" creator David Chase, Not Fade Away, which also expanded into around 500 theatres, appears to be fading away, averaging $496 per screen for a total of $280,000. With generally good reviews (69% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), perhaps this failure was the result of poor marketing or a lack of faith in the film on part of the studio.
Zero Dark Thirty, expanding into 60 theatres, maintained a stunning $45,000 per-screen average, enough to earn it $2.7 million. That's just unheard of, especially after three weeks in release. This Friday, it expands into 2,5000 theatres, and I'll be watching to see just how much pent-up demand there is for this much-talked-about drama.
This Friday, the 40's-set crime movie Gangster Squad will open wide along with the horror comedy A Haunted House and the wide release of Zero Dark Thirty.