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'Texas Chainsaw 3-D' rips up box office

By Todd Cunningham

"Texas Chainsaw 3D" pulled a stunner at the domestic box office this weekend, as the blood-drenched monster rehash massacred its rivals, taking in $23.3 million in its first three days of release.

Horror fans -- largely overlooked during the holiday season when awards and family fare rules at the multiplexes -- turned out in force and enabled the tool-wielding Leatherface to slice up "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which fell from the top spot after three weeks.

Find: Which real-life murderer is 'Chainsaw' based on?

The Weinstein Company’s "Django" took in $20 million to finish second and crossed the $100 million mark in the process. Quentin Tarantino’s slave saga has taken in $106.3 million since opening on Christmas Day.

"The Hobbit" was third with $17.5 million and Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth epic raised its domestic total to $263 million for Warner Bros. With more than $513 million from overseas, the first installment of Jackson's three-film trilogy has taken in more than $777 million worldwide.

More from TheWrap: 'Amour' Takes Top Awards From National Society of Film Critics

"Les Miserables" was fourth with $16.1 million. The star-studded musical also crossed the century mark and has brought in more than $103 million for Universal since its Christmas Day debut. The film, which stars Hugh Jackson, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, added $14.5 million from 17 foreign markets over the weekend. It has taken in $81 million overseas and now has a worldwide total of $184.6 million.

Fox's Billy Crystal-Bette Midler family comedy "Parental Guidance," another Christmas Day opener, upped its overall domestic total to nearly $53 million, taking in $10.1 million.

The performance of "Texas Chainsaw" is a coup for Lionsgate, which spent $20 million to market and promote the picture, produced by Millennium Pictures for roughly $20 million. It blasted past pre-release expectations, which had it at around $15 million for the weekend.

More: 'Texas Chainsaw' 101: Slicing its way onto screens for nearly 40 years

Pent-up demand from under-served horror fans is becoming a post-holiday tradition. Paramount pulled off a similar shocker last year, when it opened exorcism tale "The Devil Inside" to $33 million in the first week in January. The last horror film in wide release was Summit Entertainment's "Paranormal Activity 4," which opened on Oct. 19.

Opening an R-rated horror film so soon after the holidays "is kind of a calculated risk,’ Lionsgate president of film distribution Richie Fay told TheWrap Sunday, "but this time it paid off. I think the audience -- particularly fans of this genre -- was ready for something other than holiday fare."

"Texas Chainsaw" defied critics and word-of-mouth. Opening night audiences gave the splatter fest just a "C+" CinemaScore. It got a big boost from its Friday performance, which included a number of midnight Thursday screenings, and totaled $10.2 million. Over the three days in 2,654 theaters, "Chainsaw" averaged $8,785 per location.

Also: What did the critics think?

The "Chainsaw" audience was largely young women, with 52 percent female and 64 percent under 25. The presence of musical artist Trey Songz was a lure. One of three attendees under 25 said he was primary reason they went to see the movie.

John Luessenhop directed and Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde and Scott Eastwood starred in "Chainsaw," which is the seventh installment -- and first in 3D -- of the horror franchise that debuted in 1974.

A couple of Oscar front-runners surged at the box office in the wake of awards nominations, and "Zero Dark Thirty" made the most of its expansion this weekend, running up a very strong $45,834 per-screen average from 60 locations in 11 cities.

Kathryn Bigelow’s tale of the hunt for Osama bin Laden brought in $2.75 million, after expanding from five locations in two markets this weekend in the wake of nominations from the Producers Guild and Writers Guild. Its overall total after three weeks is $4.4 million. Sony plans to go wide next week, after Thursday’s Oscar nominations.

The Weinstein Company’s "Silver Linings Playbook," which also earned nominations from the PGA and WGA, appeared to have received a boost, too. It dropped just 11 percent – the best of any film in wide release – and brought in $3.6 million from 745 screens, a $4,847 per theater. It has now brought in $34.6 million over its eight weeks.

"We think we’re positioned very well for the long haul," Erik Lomis, Weinstein’s head of distribution told TheWrap Sunday. The studio plans to go wide with the dark comedy from David O. Russell on Jan. 18, the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

DreamWorks’ and Disney’s "Lincoln" continued to build on an overall gross far in excess of pre-release expectations. Steven Spielberg’s historical drama starring Daniel Day-Lewis upped its overall domestic total to $143 million – more than double what analysts had predicted – by adding $5.2 million from 1,901 theaters. Disney also plans to add theaters Friday, in what will be its 10th week in release.

Paramount’s Tom Cruise action film "Jack Reacher" took in $9.3 million to raise its overall domestic total to nearly $65 million after three weeks. "Jack Reacher" opened in another 15 foreign markets this weekend, and took in a total of $22.3 million from 47 countries to raise its international total to $55.6 million.

The same studio’s Barbra Streisand-Seth Rogen comedy "The Guilt Trip" took in $4.5 million and is at $31.2 million after three weeks.

Judd Apatow's R-rated comedy "This is 40" brought in $8.6 million for Universal, and raised its overall domestic total to $54 million after three weeks.

"Promised Land," which Focus Features expanded to 1,600 locations from 25 last weekend, barely cracked the top ten with $4.3 million. Despite featuring big name actors such as Matt Damon and John Krasinski, the environmental drama about a natural gas company exploiting a small town is struggling to establish a foothold in a crowded field of Oscar contenders.

The Top 10
"Texas Chainsaw," $23.3M
"Django Unchained," $20M
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $17.5M
"Les Miserables," $16.1M
"Parental Guidance," $10.1M
"Jack Reacher," $9.3M
"This is 40," $8.5M
"Lincoln," $5.2M
"The Guilt Trip," $4.5M
"Promised Land," $4.3M

Also on TheWrap:
Sally Field's Killer Speech is the Talk of Palm Springs Gala
Steven Soderbergh: Every Studio Rejected Liberace Film as 'Too Gay'


Jan 6, 2013 4:19PM
I used to bristle when anyone said the US is lagging behind the rest of the world in education. That one person went to this movie confirms it.
Jan 6, 2013 7:42PM
people complain about violence, guns,and murder,but knock the theatre doors down to see more of it,even if it isnt real,but a movie.
Jan 6, 2013 8:28PM
I saw the Hobbit, and unlike these folks, I watched something that was good for my mind.

Nuff' said.

Jan 6, 2013 6:14PM
A reflection on our society.  sad.

Clearly The Hobbit is the best film on this list. I'm somewhat surprised it didn't hold onto the number one spot yet again.

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