Sony is on the hunt for another box office win this weekend with “Zero Dark Thirty,” but Universal’s debut chiller “Mama” — one of four wide entries Friday — could come up from behind in four days, thanks to its PG-13 rating and strong teen tracking.
Guillermo del Toro exec produced “Mama,” which cost just $15 million, could hit north of $17 million in three days with a $20 million four-day upside through Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Suspense pic about two feral girls, helmed by Andy Muschietti, is based on his short film of the same name.
“Zero Dark Thirty” could hit similar heights if it drops roughly 30% from the pic’s $24 million wide expansion last weekend. The Oscar-nommed film, which also won drama actress honors at the Golden Globes, so far has cumed $34.7 million domestically.
Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co. expands its musical/comedy actress Globes winner and Oscar pic nominee, “Silver Linings Playbook,” to 2,523 locations in its eighth week. “Playbook,” which has cumed $42.7 milion Stateside through Tuesday, could be a dark horse this weekend, though most B.O. observers peg the pic to earn around $15 million in four days.
“Playbook” will rival Fox’s R-rated Mark Wahlberg-Russell Crowe thriller “Broken City,” which has seen soft tracking but still should secure a low to mid-teens opening.
The weekend’s fourth wide entry, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mid-$40 million-budgeted “The Last Stand,” launches Friday via Lionsgate at more than 2,900 locations, with expectations north of $10 million.
Martin Luther King Jr. weekend traditionally is a robust moviegoing period, with 94% of K-12 schools out on Monday. That will aid “Mama” the most as it’s the only PG-13 film to go wide this weekend. “Silver Linings” and “Last Stand” could also draw a significant under-25 crowd.
“Zero Dark Thirty” has been playing well during midweeks; the film’s overperformance last weekend bodes well for its hold, which could be less than 30%. Still, most pundits expect the film to drop 30%-35%, putting it somewhere in the high teens for three days.
Internationally, Sony bows “Django Unchained” in 25 markets, including Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia and the U.K. The Quentin Tarantino film, which Weinstein is distributing Stateside, has cumed nearly $130 million domestically.
Another Oscar contender setting sail overseas, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” bows this weekend in Mexico and Spain via Fox. The film has cumed more than $150 million Stateside.
In light of its multiple Oscar bids, Fox expands “Life of Pi” to 1,211 domestic locations, up from 757, on Friday. Pic’s made more than $453 million worldwide, including $95.4 million domestically. Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight re-releases four-time nominee “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in 12 markets.
Indomina Releasing is launching 2012 Sundance pic “LUV” at 45 AMC locations, partnering with the chain’s independent division.