Movies by the Numbers: January 22, 2013

Mama Movie Poster

Mama Movie Poster

The first three day weekend of 2013 saw Jessica Chastain flex her muscle as one of the new superpowers in Hollywood while Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger saw their latest releases fizzle. By all expectations, Mama should not have been as successful as it was. For a genre that has been dominated by a “found-footage” style, Mama went back to horror roots, delivering a solid premise that hooked audiences. Jessica Chastain’s rising star power helped to push the film to over double its production budget in its first weekend. The other secret to the film’s success lies in the numbers. The much desired female demographic flocked to the film in large numbers. Over 60% of the audience was comprised of women and under the age of 25. Combined with a PG-13 rating, Mama should have legs as the month drags on.

Finishing in second was another film starring Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty. Earning nearly $16 million in its second week of full release, Katherine Bigelow’s latest film has held better than comparable films such as Black Hawk Down. Similarly, Zero Dark Thirty is only slightly off from the total of Black Hawk Down at this same point. Overall, the buzz from the slow release, combined with the award show nominations, has helped to set the film up for a successful run. February will see stiff competition with Live Free or Die Hard. However, the film should do most of its damage before the latest installment of the Die Hard series.

This weekend saw a few setbacks for well established action movie stars. Mark Wahlberg’s stock has taken a hit with previous films such as Contraband being poorly received. Now his latest film, Broken City, is suffering the consequences. With audiences not buying into the corruption angle and possibly being tired of Wahlberg’s tough cop persona, the film mustered up a sad $9 million start. Similarly, The Last Stand proved to be the Schwarzenegger comeback that no one wanted to see. A sad 10th place opening placed it amongst one of the worst in Arnold’s career. Given the action star’s rocky history as of late, it’s no surprise that his movies would take a hit.

Lastly, Silver Linings Playbook became the latest Oscar film to make its national debut. The Weinstein Company took a big gamble by pulling it from its original Thanksgiving release date. A feeling that the marketing had poisoned the well early on forced the group to take a breather and reevaluate the situation. A slow release and a few award nominations helped to build the momentum necessary to gain the public interest. Expanding to a nationwide release, Silver Linings Playbook made a respectable debut. Having already pulled in $56 million, it is possible that the film will finish with $100 million — especially if the film wins big at the Oscars.

All numbers from Box Office Mojo.