Box Office: Chastain stars in two top movies this weekend

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Jessica Chastain stars in the top two movies in the weekend box office race: "Mama" and "Zero Dark Thirty" (as pictured). AP Photo

Jessica Chastain stars in the top two movies in the weekend box office race: “Mama” and “Zero Dark Thirty” (as pictured). AP Photo

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the silver screen did not exactly draw swarms of moviegoers, but actress Jessica Chastain is the star of the top two movies this weekend.

Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand” drew $6.3 million in its opening weekend, good enough for ninth place. It’s the former California governor’s “big screen comeback,” said movie industry analyst Paul Dergerabedian.

“Unfortunately, audiences didn’t quite stand in line for `The Last Stand’,” Dergerabedian said.

Chastain, on the other hand, was a huge draw, according to attendance estimates from the studios that were gathered by Box Office.

“Mama” finished in first place with a $28.1 million gross,  and “Zero Dark Thirty” was number two with a $17.6 million gate. She stars in both.

“Though Universal projected lower numbers for `Mama’, never underestimate the power of a PG-13 horror movie,” Dergerabedian said.

“No doubt Oscar buzz for Chastain, and controversy surrounding Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden movie, is helping `Zero Dark Thirty’ dominate at the box office,” he added.

In third place, “Silver Linings Playbook” built momentum, selling an estimated $11.4 million this weekend, and $553. million over the 10 weeks it has been on exhibition.

Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend, as estimated by the studios and collated by, were “Gangster Squad” ($9.1 million), “Broken City” ($9 million), “A Haunted House” ($8.3 million), “Django Unchained” ($8.2 million), “Les Miserables” ($7.8 million), “The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey” ($6.4 million), and “The Last Stand” ($6.3 million).

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