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‘Mama’ Shatters Expectations Over MLK Weekend

Even with franchise horror flick Texas Chainsaw 3D debuting strongly just two weeks ago, Guillermo del Toro-produced Mama powered to an impressive debut of over $30 million across the Martin Luther King weekend. 

Easily claiming the top spot by a margin of nearly $15 million, supernatural horror film Mama scared up $32.1 million over the four-day weekend and more than doubled its budget in the process.

Among impressive facts, the debut for Mama was the ninth best in January, the seventh for MLK weekend and the third-highest ever for an original supernatural thriller not of the found-footage genre. It also marks an immensely rare occasion when an actor or actress headlined a movie in the top two spots — Jessica Chastain should be proud even though her presence wasn’t the sole reason. 

Yes, holding up well in second was Oscar-nominated Chastain-starrer Zero Dark Thirty, which dipped by less than a quarter and upped its cume to $56.9 million. With solid reviews, audience approval and awards buzz, $100 million should be very reachable for the political thriller. 

Finally, expanding nationwide after weeks in pseudo-limited release, Silver Linings Playbook grabbed $12.7 million for a tally of $56.7 million. Like Zero Dark Thirty, a place in the century club should be in the cards for the romantic drama. If that turns out to be the case, it would mark a record year with seven Best Picture nominees (which also include Django Unchained, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Argo, Life of Pi ­­) breaking that milestone. 

The Top 10 (Four Day) 

1. Mama – $32.1M (weekend)…$32.1M (gross)
2. Zero Dark Thirty – $18.6M…$56.9M
3. Silver Linings Playbook – $12.7M…$56.7M
4. Gangster Squad – $10.1M…$33.2M
5. Broken City – $9.5M…$9.5M
6. A Haunted House – $9.4M…$31.1M
7. Django Unchained – $9.2M…$139.3M
8. Les Miserables – $9.0M…$131.6M
9. The Last Stand – $7.2M…$7.2M
10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – $7.6M…$288.6M


Quite lackluster in fifth was thriller Broken City with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, which started with only $9.5 million over four days. Considering the recognition these two carry and the fact Wahlberg saw his film Contraband open to $28.5 million over the same frame in 2012, the result has to be considered disappointing. 

More embarrassing yet was the opening for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand, which tanked with a piddly $7.2 million. The action legend’s decade-long hiatus, the lack of an established brand to tickle nostalgia and a crowded frame all amounted to a non-event. 

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum (in terms of impressiveness) James Bond outing Skyfall squeezed past the $300-million mark domestically, making it the third-highest attended installment in the franchise and the highest grosser by around $130 million. 

Next weekend, three interesting prospects vie for cash, but in a twist, Mama could very likely hold over at number one. Targeting genre fanatics in 3,000 theaters is fairy tale spin Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, then comedy lovers get treated to the star-studded Movie 43 in 2,000 and Jason Statham's faithful get Parker in 2,200 locations.


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