Mama takes big box-office win
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Films starring bad boys, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Mark Wahlberg bow out to Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain starrer
Jessica Chastain overpowered Mark Wahlberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others as her low-budget horror flick emerged as the North American weekend box office champ and her Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty captured the second spot as well.
Chastain's supernatural thriller, Mama, pulled in $28.1 million from Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres in its opening week, according to studio estimates, beating out a crop of new testosterone-fueled, male-targeted releases that finished far back in the pack. Zero Dark Thirty, for which Chastain is a leading best actress Oscar contender, took in $17.6 million, while another late 2012 release and Oscar favorite, Silver Linings Playbook, finished third with $11.35 million.
Broken City, a crime thriller starring Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, finished fifth with $9 million behind Gangster Squad's $9.1 million, while Schwarzenegger's new action film, The Last Stand, earned $6.3 million for a dismal 10th place.
Mama stars Chastain as a guitarist who doesn't want children, but is forced to take care of two orphaned nieces who have been living in the woods. She and her husband try to re-adjust the little girls to normal life. Based on a 2008 short film, the movie was produced for roughly $15 million.
"This is a great result, one we never would have expected especially for a film of this genre," said Nikki Rocco, Universal's president for domestic distribution. "The timing was perfect," she said, noting "the key was it's a PG-13 movie that appealed to the under-25 female audience." The studio said it was hopeful that as the only PG-13 film in release last month it would continue to find an audience.
Chastain is a best actress Oscar nominee for her role as a dogged CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty, the weekend's second-place film about the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden. The movie has taken in $55.9 million since late December.
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