Zero Dark Thirty expanded nationwide on Friday and easily beat new releases Gangster Squad and A Haunted House. The controversial CIA thriller took first place with an estimated $9 million from 2,937 locations; while that's a bit lower than Black Hawk Down at the same point ($9.9 million), it's still a fantastic start. For the three-day weekend, Sony is now expecting around $25 million.
Second place was a tight race between the two newcomers, but initially it appears A Haunted House had a slight edge over Gangster Squad. The supernatural horror parody earned an estimated $6.7 million in its opening day, which is lower than any of the Scary Movie flicks but still on the higher end among recent parody movies. For example, its just below Meet the Spartans, which had a $6.88 million opening day on its way to an $18.5 million weekend in January 2008. Using that as a comparison, A Haunted House could wind up with around $18 million for the weekend.
Gangster Squad was just behind with $6.67 million, which is much less impressive given the movie's star power and heftier marketing effort. It's not an awful gross either, though: while it's less than Public Enemies ($8.2 million), it's better than nearly all other period crime movies. For the weekend, the movie should earn over $18 million.
Despite scoring five Oscar nominations on Thursday (including Best Picture), Django Unchained tumbled 44 percent to an estimated $3.46 million. Sometime today, it will pass Inglourious Basterds ($120.5 million) to become Quentin Tarantino's highest-grossing movie ever.
Les Miserables was also nominated for a handful of Oscars, and it also somehow took a steep fall. The musical was off 44 percent to an estimated $2.8 million on Friday, and through 18 days it has earned $111.9 million.
In sixth place, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey plummeted 55 percent to an estimated $2.34 million. This and other Christmas releases are going to have a tough time holding on to screens next weekend when three new movies open in at least 2,400 locations, and Silver Linings Playbook expands to over 2,500. To date, The Hobbit has grossed $271.4 million.
While Django and Les Miserables didn't receive any kind of support from Oscar, two movies lower on the charts saw their prospects improve: Lincoln was up 15 percent week-over-week to $1.84 million, while Silver Linings Playbook jumped 36 percent to $1.5 million. Lincoln is already a monster hit with $148.1 million, while Silver Linings has tallied $37.8 million before ever making it to more than 1,000 theaters.
Texas Chainsaw 3D opened in first place last Friday but found itself all the way down in eighth place yesterday with an estimated $1.8 million. That's a stunning 82 percent week-over-week decline, and it now looks like the movie will be lucky to ultimately close with more than $40 million.