After weeks of debate, the American public can now see Zero Dark Thirty, and  it turns out they wanted to. The Best picture nominee ended up taking the weekend, fending off a terrible looking comedy and Gangster Squad. You wouldn’t think it was January looking at these numbers, but people are going to the movies these days, and how.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Zero Dark Thirty $24,000,000 $8,172 $29,481,000
2 A Haunted House $18,817,000 $8,712 $18,817,000
3 Gangster Squad $16,710,000 $5,385 $16,710,000
4 Django Unchained $11,065,000 (-44.7%) $3,674 $125,399,000
5 Les Miserables $10,127,000 (-36.8%)
$3,460 $119,206,000
6 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $9,080,000 (-48.2%) $3,015 $278,124,000
7 Lincoln $6,314,000 (+16.6%) $3,115 $152,579,000
8 Parental Guidance $6,100,000 (-37.1%) $2,063 $60,650,000
9 Texas Chainsaw 3D $5,150,000 (-76.3%) $1,937 $30,752,000
10 Silver Linings Playbook $5,000,000 (+38.2%) $6,173 $41,306,000

First things first, Zero Dark Thirty was reasonably cheap (supposed production budget of $40 Million), so it’s quite possible that it will make its money back domestically. The film shouldn’t crater next week, so a $70-$80 to even a hundred aren’t out of the question. But it’s no longer looking like a front runner, and it may walk away empty handed from the Oscars.

A Haunted House went after an unserved target demo that was happy to come out. It’s an R-rated comedy filled with crude jokes. Likely it was much of the same sort of audience who went to Texas Chainsaw the week before so expect a similar decline. But this was a hit. Gangster Squad was probably doomed to begin with, even before all the shootings. Perhaps it would have done better in September when there was no competition for adult business, or teen business. Right now, every audience this could appeal to has something better to see.

Django Unchained is now Quentin Tarantino‘s most successful domestic film, and isn’t done yet. $150 is without question, but it will start losing screens soon. And though it may not have gotten as many Oscar nominations as hoped for, it should be able to stay in front of Les Miserables, which also got less than expected. The Hobbit looks like it will limp to $300 domestic.

In some ways Lincoln is the big winner this weekend as it got twelve nominations and bumped up its gross, but so did Silver Linings Playbook (which will expand next week). Currently, Lincoln looks like the front runner for best picture, so it should be able to stay in the top ten for the next couple weeks. Silver Linings could take number one next weekend, so there’s that too.

And who would have thought Parental Guidance would have made $60 Million?

Reality Check: I thought we might see some January slowdown. We didn’t. ZD30 and Haunted performed stronger than expected, which meant Django slipped more than I thought.

What did you watch this weekend?