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Saturday Box Office Preview: ‘Texas Chainsaw’ Opens at Number One, Followed by ‘Django,’ ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Expands

Saturday Box Office Preview: 'Texas Chainsaw' Opens at Number One, Followed by 'Django,' 'Zero Dark Thirty' Expands

Younger moviegoers eagerly greeted Lionsgate’s “Texas Chainsaw” (3D and 2D), the first new horror release since Halloween with a $10 million-plus Friday gross, much bigger than expected and heading to a likely #1 spot for the weekend. Although it has a $4 million edge on the day’s #2 (“Django Unchained”), genre films like this tend to have their best day on Friday, so the final weekend lead could be challenged. But the gap would normally be too big to overcome, particularly by an R-rated film not boosted by weekend matinees.

“Django” was a clear #2, besting “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” by nearly $1 million, with “Les Miserables” slightly behind at #4. “Django” overtook the lead for total gross over its fellow Christmas Day opener “Les Miserables,” after trailing it daily for the initial week. Both are at $92 million so far, and could pass $100 million as early as Saturday, in under two weeks of release.

Sony expanded “Zero Dark Thirty” to 60 screens, adding limited runs in several new cities and widening in New York and Los Angeles, with a very strong $825,000 and a per screen average of $13,250 for the day. Reviews in the new cities maintained the best-of-2012 films critical response (some had already listed it as their #1 film on 10 best lists), but the film opened at more general audience than specialized theaters. These grosses suggest that the film has wider interest than just upscale/review-driven moviegoers, crucial if it can score big when it goes wide next Friday, the day after the Oscar nominations.

The #4-9 slots for the day were in the same order (one notch lower with “Texas” opening) as last weekend, with Focus’s 1500-screen expansion of “Promised Land” taking #10.

Business was down about 5% from the first Friday last year, due mainly to a much stronger new opening then. Another horror film, “The Devil Inside,” opened at nearly $17 million, much better than “Texas Chainsaw.”

Friday Top 10 (gross in $ millions & total)

1. “Texas Chainsaw” (Lionsgate) – $10.2/$10.2

2. “Django Unchained” (Weinstein) – $6.2/$92.4

3. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Warner Bros.) – $5.2/$251.5

4. “Les Miserables” (Universal) – $4.9/$92.4

5. “Parental Guidance” (20th Century-Fox) – $3.1/$45.8

6. “Jack Reacher” (Paramount) – $3.0/$58.5

7. “This Is 40” (Universal) – $2.7/$48.6

8. “Lincoln” (Buena Vista) – $1.6/$140.3

9. “The Guilt Trip” (Paramount) – $1.5/$28.2

10. “Promised Land” (Focus) – $1.3/$1.7

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