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Jessica Chastain Looks To Top Box Office Again With Horror-Thriller 'Mama'


With "Zero Dark Thirty" still doing well with adult audiences, Academy Award nominated actress Jessica Chastain could once again headline the number one movie in the U.S., as horror film "Mama" looks to find a wide audience starting this weekend. There will be plenty of competition for adult moviegoers, though, including the Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg-starring thriller "Broken City," Arnold Schwarzenegger's big screen comeback "The Last Stand" and a full expansion for Oscar hopeful "Silver Linings Playbook." The weekend could also be the first since early December that "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" drops out of the top 10 after pulling in nearly $300 million domestically and $900 million worldwide so far.

Backed by mostly positive reviews, horror-thriller "Mama" seems to be in a great position to find its intended audience and put up a strong first weekend, mostly thanks to a lack of direct genre competition. Though "Texas Chainsaw 3D" shot to the top of the charts two weekends ago, it has completely dropped off since then, leaving "Mama" as the only real option for horror seekers this weekend.

Also helping is a recognizable cast led by Chastain, who is currently up for a Best Actress Oscar thanks to her acclaimed role in thriller "Zero Dark Thirty." Though "Mama" co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau hasn't been in too many big movies so far, audiences might recognize him from HBO's massively successful series "Game of Thrones," which only helps the overall appeal of the movie. As "Broken City" and "The Last Stand" battle it out for action audiences, horror crowds should help make "Mama" the number one movie in the U.S. with close to $20 million in opening revenue.

Also hitting around 2,600 total venues this weekend will be "Broken City," an R-rated thriller starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Early critical buzz has been very unkind to "Broken City," however, which could make it a hard sell with plenty of other options for adults this weekend, from "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Last Stand" to "Mama" and "Gangster Squad." Even with a popular cast, "Broken City" will likely finish with a mediocre $15-$18 million in opening revenue and land just behind "Mama" at the top of the box office.

The third new release of the weekend is the big screen comeback of famed action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Though Arnold had a small role in "The Expendables 2," "The Last Stand" is an old-school action flick with Schwarzenegger as the centerpiece, which should be able to bring in at least a small segment of his fans despite the strong competition for adult audiences. Expect an opening somewhere in the neighborhood of $13-$15 million this weekend for Schwarzenegger's latest.

Also looking to make an impact at the box office this weekend is "Silver Linings Playbook," the critically acclaimed romantic comedy that has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook" has done alright in a limited release over the last month, though now we'll see if there is a wide audience as it expands to more than 2,500 total venues. "Silver Linings Playbook" should easily land in the top 10, though it's very unlikely that it will earn more than $8-$10 million.

The weekend should also be the fourth consecutive in which "Django Unchained" is a major factor, though it could also take a hit with a bevy of new options for adult audiences. Thanks to some love from the Academy Awards and excellent buzz from Quentin Tarantino fans, "Django" is now Tarantino's highest grossing U.S. release, recently surpassing the $120 million of "Inglourious Basterds." Though "Django" will still have to put up some big numbers overseas to match the impressive overall totals of "Basterds," its internationally known cast should help it do exactly that as it hits major foreign markets for the first time this weekend.

Next weekend, an adult version of "Hansel and Gretel" will hit theaters as the widest release of the weekend, with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton co-starring in the R-rated version of the classic fairy tale. Also getting launched will be "Movie 43," an outlandish adult-geared comedy starring a plethora of well-known actors and actresses in bit roles, including Emma Stone, Kate Winslet, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Banks, Naomi Watts and more. Jason Statham's latest crime thriller "Parker" will be another major release next weekend; though it's unlikely it will make a run at topping the charts with plenty of competition for adult audiences.

RTT Box Office Predictions for 1/18/13 - 1/20/13 (in millions):

1) Mama (Universal): $19

2) Broken City (Fox): $17

3) The Last Stand (Lionsgate): $14

4) Zero Dark Thirty (Sony/Columbia): $13.5

5) Gangster Squad (Warner Brothers): $8.9

6) A Haunted House (Open Road): $8.8

7) Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein): $8.5

8) Django Unchained (Weinstein): $6.3

9) Les Miserables (Universal): $5.9

10) Lincoln (Disney): $5.8

by RTTNews Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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