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Nation/World

January 20, 2013

Chastain films take top two spots at box office

NEW YORK (AP) — Jessica Chastain easily outmuscled Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mark Wahlberg over the weekend, topping the box office with both her supernatural horror film “Mama” and the Oscar-nominated Osama bin Laden hunt thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”

“Mama” opened well above expectations with a box-office topping $28.1 million for Universal Pictures, according to studio estimates yesterday. Chastain also held the second spot with “Zero Dark Thirty,” for which she’s nominated by the Academy Awards for best actress. In its second week of wide release, “Zero Dark Thirty” took in $17.6 million.

The films’ strong performances made an unlikely box-office queen out of a chameleon-like actress that even fans of “Mama” might have trouble picking out of a lineup. Chastain, whose credits range from Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” to “The Help” (for which she was also Oscar nominated), even accomplished the rare feat by besting a couple more traditional box-office stalwarts.

Schwarzenegger’s post-governorship comeback got off to a terrible start. His action flick “The Last Stand” opened with just $6.3 million for Lionsgate, one of the worst debuts for the brawny 65-year-old star. The film came in 10th.

Though Schwarzenegger co-starred in “The Expendables 2,” which opened with $28.6 million in August, “The Last Stand” is his first proper starring vehicle since exiting the California governor’s seat in January 2011.

The Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe-led New York crime film “Broken City” didn’t fare much better. The Fox release premiered with $9.1 million.

The Oscar-nominated “Django Unchained,” meanwhile, became the director’s biggest box-office hit in its fourth week. The Weinstein Co. release surpassed his previous film, “Inglourious Basterds,” by adding $8.2 million for a domestic total of $138.4 million. But it did exceptional business internationally, taking in $48.1 million and proving that Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western set in the antebellum South had tremendous appeal worldwide.

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