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'Zero Dark Thirty' Rides Oscar Bump to Box Office Win

Posted by Sean Oconnell on January 13, 2013

We talked in the Weekend Chatter column about the Oscar “bump,” which helps recently-nominated films at the box office. If you need another example, just look at Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty
The military thriller opened in New York and Los Angeles at the end of 2012 to qualify for Oscar consideration – a move that helped earn the film five nominations including Best Picture. The movie finally expanded this weekend to most markets, and easily won the box office weekend. 
Bigelow’s film, about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, earned an estimated $24M in its first wide weekend. It stands at $29.4M to date. Bigelow’s previous Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, only earned $17M back in 2009, so Thirty already is doing much better with mainstream audiences. 
In a bit of a surprise, Marlon Wayans’ spoof comedy A Haunted House bested Warner Bros.’ ensemble drama Gangster Squad, despite the presence of some star power in the latter film. More people might have been looking for a laugh. House banked $18.8M compared to the $16.7M nabbed by Squad
The rest of the Best Picture nominees all added to their totals, from Django Unchained to Les Miserables. Meanwhile, last week’s leader, Texas Chainsaw 3D, nearly dropped out of the Top 10. It landed at No. 9, with $5.1M for the weekend. 
Here’s the full Top 10 list for the weekend:
1. Zero Dark Thirty, $24M, $29.4M
2. A Haunted House, $18.8M 
3. Gangster Squad, $16.7M
4. Django Unchained, $11M, $125.3M
5. Les Miserables, $10.1M, $119.2M 
6. The Hobbit, $9M, $278.1M
7. Lincoln, $6.3M, $152.5M
8. Parental Guidance, $6.1M, $60.6M
9. Texas Chansaw 3D, $23M
10. Silver Linings Playbook, $5M, $41.3M
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