Driven primarily by December holdovers, total domestic box office in January came in at a decent $826 million. That's close to 2012 ($832 million), but way off the all-time high set in 2010 ($1.06 billion). The modest performance can be attributed to a terrible slate of new releases: the top four movies in January were technically all December releases, which is the first time this has happened since January 2002.
While it never claimed first place over a full weekend, Django Unchained took the top spot in January with $79.3 million. The movie has earned an excellent $147.9 million so far, which makes it the highest-grossing Quentin Tarantino movie ahead of Inglourious Basterds ($120.5 million). It's also still tracking ahead of 2010's True Grit, though it will ultimately close below that movie's $171.2 million.
After opening in limited release on Dec. 19, controversial CIA thriller Zero Dark Thirty expanded nationwide on Jan. 11 and grossed $71.1 million during the month of January. In total, the Oscar-nominated movie has made $72.5 million; in comparison, Black Hawk Down ($108.6 million) had tallied $84.4 million through the same point. This discrepancy suggests that Zero Dark Thirty will finish with less than $100 million at the domestic box office.
In third place, Les Miserables added $66.1 million during January. It is currently the fourth-highest-grossing musical ever with $139.1 million, and should ultimately move up to third ahead of Mamma Mia! ($144.1 million).
Despite dominating the end-of-year box office, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey fell to fourth place in January with $65.7 million. Nearing the end of its run, The Hobbit has grossed $294.3 million, and it could ultimately wind up below $300 million. That's a bit of a surprise, considering all three Lord of the Rings movies made more than that, and The Hobbit had a decade of ticket price inflation and the addition of 3D/IMAX premiums working in its favor.
Supernatural horror movie Mama wound up being the highest-grossing new movie in January with $51.5 million. By the end of its run, it will be the highest-grossing horror movie since Paranormal Activity 3 in late 2011. Silver Linings Playbook also performed really well in January: the romantic comedy earned $43.8 million, much of which came after a major expansion on the 18th. After over two months in release, the movie has earned $72.3 million, and is holding well enough that it could close above $100 million.
While Mama was the only real success story in January, there were a few decent performers as well. Gangster Squad earned $41.2 million, which is a solid tally for the beleaguered project. A Haunted House grossed $36.2 million, which is about on par with other low-budget spoof movies. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D got off to a nice $21.7 million start at the beginning of the month, but died a quick death and ended January with just over $34 million. Finally, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters tallied a respectable $19.7 million debut, but it's unclear if the movie is going to hold up well in the long run.
January also had four outright bombs, all of which involved major actors. Mark Wahlberg-Russell Crowe crime drama Broken City grossed just $16.7 million through its first 14 days, which is less than Wahlberg's Contraband made in its first two days last January. Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback vehicle The Last Stand had a disasterous start, and has so far earned $11.4 million. Fellow Expendables star Jason Statham also bombed in Parker, which opened to just $7 million. The month's worst performer, though, was Movie 43, which opened to an atrocious $4.8 million despite having too many major stars to list here.