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Despite all the controversy about its portrayal of torture, Kathryn Bigelow’s critically acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty was a hit with audiences, who rushed out to see the film for its first weekend in wide release.
Zero Dark Thirty grossed $24 million over the weekend, going from just 60 locations to 2,937, notes Entertainment Weekly.
The film, which focuses on the hunt to kill Osama Bin Laden, earned an A- CinemaScore grade from audiences. It is also bigger than Bigelow’s last film, The Hurt Locker, which made $17.9 million at the box office, despite winning the Oscar for Best Picture. It could also easily pass Point Break, which is the biggest hit of the director’s career with $43.2 million in total.
The film earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Jessica Chastain’s role. However, Bigelow was not nominated for Best Director.
According to Box Office Mojo, the horror spoof A Haunted House came in second with $18.8 million. It did much better than past spoof films and had the best opening for a film in that genre since Date Movie made $19.1 million in 2006.
Gangster Squad made just $16.7 million, despite an all-star cast that includes Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The good news for the movie is that it earned a B+ from audiences, so it does have a chance to revive itself in the coming weeks.
Django Unchained slipped to fourth with $11.1 million, while Les Miserables finished with $10 million. Other Oscar-nominated films like Lincoln ($6.3 million), Silver Linings Playbook ($5 million) and Life of Pi ($2.7 million) cleaned up the leftovers.