Witch-hunting "Hansel & Gretel" wins box office
By Lisa Richwine and Patricia Reaney
(Reuters) - A grown-up "Hansel & Gretel" grabbed the weekend box office title, pulling in $19 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales with its reinvention of the fairy tale characters as fierce bounty hunters.
"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" knocked last weekend's winner, low-budget horror flick "Mama," into second place. "Mama" earned $12.8 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates, followed by "Silver Linings Playbook" with $10 million.
CIA drama "Zero Dark Thirty" came in fourth with $9.8 million.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in "Hansel & Gretel" as crossbow-wielding adult siblings who travel the world taking out evil witches. MGM and Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures produced the action comedy for about $50 million. Paramount had predicted opening weekend sales in the high-teens or low $20 million range.
Don Harris, Paramount's president of distribution, said the film performed well despite the very cold temperatures and snow that hit the eastern United States.
"We are pleased that we were on our number on a worldwide basis. It looks like we are on or exceeding our numbers but we did get dinged with the weather on Friday," he said in an interview.
"The impact of the weather was certainly more than I had predicted."
"Mama" features Jessica Chastain as a woman forced to take care of two orphaned nieces who have been living in the woods. The $15 million production has now earned $48.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters through two weekends. Continued...