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Chainsaw rips the competition

By LOS ANGELES TIMES

This article was published January 11, 2013 at 2:00 a.m.

jamie-foxx-left-and-christoph-waltz-star-in-quentin-tarantinos-django-unchained-the-film-came-in-second-at-last-weekends-box-office-and-made-more-than-20-million

Jamie Foxx (left) and Christoph Waltz star in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. The film came in second at last weekend’s box office and made more than $20 million.

— Texas Chainsaw 3D easily sliced through the competition at the box office last weekend - including a group of Hobbits that had been expected to keep up their winning streak.

As the only new film to hit theaters nationwide, the umpteenth reboot of the 1974 horror flick had to contend only with a handful of movies that have been out for weeks. Still, the low-budget movie did better than predicted, collecting a robust $21.7 million during its opening weekend, according to distributor Lionsgate.

Heading into the weekend, pre-release audience polling suggested that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey would claim No. 1 for the fourth consecutive weekend, while Chainsaw looked poised to finish second with around $16 million. Instead, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit grossed $17.5 million, raising its domestic total to $263.8 million.

Meanwhile, Django Unchained and Les Miserables crossed the $100 million milestone. Since being released on Christmas Day, Quentin Tarantino’s film has sold $106.3 million, while the film version of the Broadway musical is up to $103.5 million.

Texas Chainsaw 3D is the seventh film to feature the villain Leatherface. The new movie posted the second-highest opening of any Chainsaw film - not adjusting for inflation - behind 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Jessica Biel film that ultimately sold a strong $80.6 million.

The film attracted a young audience, 64 percent of whom were younger than 25. Of those in that age group, 1out of 3 said the main reason they showed up to see the film was that the musical artist Trey Songz had a role in it. Chainsaw is the first film that the 28-year-old Grammy nominee has starred in, and he has been promoting the picture to his 5.6 million Twitter followers.

Also last weekend, the Matt Damon-John Krasinski collaboration Promised Land got off to a bad start. The environmental drama, which was co-written by and stars the actors, expanded from 25 theaters to 1,676 locations but brought in a lackluster $4million.

The Focus Features production about conflict over a town’s natural gas reserves cost the studio and co-financier Participant Media only about $15 million to produce. But with middling reviews and a B CinemaScore, it’s a long shot that the film will end up being a hit even given its modest budget.

“The relentless adult holiday-market product is still dominating, and that hurt us,” said Jack Foley, president of domestic distribution for Focus. “It’s a better movie than the business it did.”

Another film that expanded last weekend was The Impossible, the $40 million production about a family in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.Playing in 572 locations, the Summit Entertainment release collected a so-so $2.8 million. However, the picture is fairing far better overseas. Already a hit in Spain, from which its filmmaker hails, the movie debuted in the United Kingdom last weekend and grossed $6.4 million. Overall, the movie has grossed $81.2 million abroad and $3.4 million in the United States and Canada.

MovieStyle, Pages 32 on 01/11/2013

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