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  "Zero Dark Thirty" tops North America weekend box office  

  

 

The low-budget R-rated horror comedy was released by Open Roads and features a star-studded cast including Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. 

  LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Thanks to a combination of rising awards buzz stemming from multiple nominations in top awards events and the lingering controversy over the depiction of torture, Kathryn Bigelow's latest project shot to the top of the North America weekend box office chart, beating out a pair of new films along the way, Sunday estimates showed.

  "Zero Dark Thirty," a controversial CIA thriller which had been open in just four theaters since its Dec. 19 debut, expanded nationwide to 2,937 venues over the weekend and rolled up 24 million U.S. dollars in ticket sales in line with previous anticipation. Factoring earlier receipts from the previous three weeks, the gritty actioner-thriller has grossed 29.5 million dollars.

  The film, which received nominations for top honors including best film in the 85th Academy Awards and the 70th Golden Globes, has been criticized by some liberals, who claimed that the tale about the U.S. government's pursuit of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden depicted detainee torture as an effective way of locating the top terrorist. However, the good opening serves as a convincing vindication for Bigelow and writer Mark Boal's claim that their portrayal was accurate.

  Audiences also responded with warm and hearty reception. Those who had seen the thriller liked it, and assigned an "A-" CinemaScore to the film.

  Trailing the Bigelow-directed flick were a pair of debuting films.

  The horror spoof "A Haunted House," starring Marlon Wayans, opened in second place with an estimated gross of 18.8 million dollars. The low-budget R-rated horror comedy was released by Open Roads and features a star-studded cast including Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

  "Gangster Squad," a Warner Bros. crime thriller set in 1940s Los Angeles, debuted in third place with a 16.7-million-dollar weekend.

  "Django Unchained," Quentin Tarantino's slave epic, took the fourth slot with an 11-million-dollar gate. The western, which occupied the No. 1 slot last weekend, has grossed 125 million dollars since its opening on Dec. 25.

  Rounding out the 10 most popular movies in the United States and Canada this weekend were "Les Miserables" (10.1 million dollars), "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (9 million), " Lincoln" (6.3 million), "Parental Guidance" (6.1 million), "Texas Chainsaw 3-D" (5.2 million) and "Silver Linings Playbook" (5 million).

 

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