Chastain horror film "Mama" takes big box office win

Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:02pm EST
 

By Chris Michaud and Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) - 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 theaters, 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."   Continued...