"Texas Chainsaw 3D" carved the biggest slice out of the Friday box office.
Horror fans turned out in force to see the return of power tool-wielding Leatherface, propelling the poorly reviewed gore-fest to $10.2 million. "Texas Chainsaw 3D" is being distributed by Lionsgate in 2,654 locations across North America and appears to be over-performing its tracking. The film had been expected to do roughly $15 million to $16 million this weekend, but if it does not experience a big drop-off, it's final haul could be between $21 million to $24 million.
To win the weekend, "Texas Chainsaw 3D" has to hope word-of-mouth doesn't kill enthusiasm. Cinemascore ratings among audiences, which tend to be more generous than critics, were a lackluster C+.
Coming in at second place on Friday was Quentin Tarantino's historically revisionist western "Django Unchained." Controversy about the use of racial epithets does not appear to be dampening enthusiasm for the picture, which is having the slowest drop-off among all of the movies left over from the crowded holiday week. "Django Unchained" added $6.2 million to its tally on Friday and is looking at a $19 million weekend, according to studio estimates. That will propel the picture over the $100 million mark domestically.
"Django Unchained"s' continued strength may leave "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "Les Misérables" to fight it out for third and fourth place on the box office rankings. The prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the adaptation of the musical phenomenon racked up $5.2 million and $4.9 million on Friday respectively, according to studio estimates.
Both films should have weekends in the $16 million range. If those numbers hold, "Les Misérables" will also cross $100 million domestically while "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" will have earned over $260 million stateside.
"Promised Land" expanded this weekend from 25 theaters to 1,600 theaters in its second week of release. Despite featuring big name actors such as Matt Damon and John Krasinski, the environmental drama about a natural gas company exploiting a small town is struggling to establish a foothold in a crowded field of Oscar contenders. It earned $1.3 million Friday and should end the weekend with around a $3.8 million gross, according to studio estimates.
In limited release, "Zero Dark Thirty" took in $825,000 Friday, on track to do between $2.5 million to $3 million this weekend. The hunt for Osama bin Laden drama expanded from 5 theaters to 60 locations.