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FROM MTV NEWS

Though she's a hit on the indie scene and awards circuit, Jessica Chastain had never proven herself as a bankable leading woman until this past weekend. While "Zero Dark Thirty" continued to perform strongly, it was the success of "Mama," Chastain's new horror movie, and utter failure of Arnold Schwarzenegger's big return, "The Last Stand" that has people so shocked.

From executive producer Guillermo del Toro, "Mama" took in an impressive $33 million at the box office over the three-day weekend (via Box Office Mojo), and "Zero Dark Thirty" held in its second week of wide release with $18.7 million.

"The Last Stand" clocked in at a dismal tenth place, behind "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," earning $7.2 million. Schwarzenegger's next chance to test his return to acting will come this September with "The Tomb," which co-stars Sylvester Stallone.

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FROM MTV NEWS

The story of this past weekend's box office breaks down to simple arithmetic.

Controversy + Oscar nominations = $$$

Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden drama, "Zero Dark Thiry," expanded to nearly 3,000 screens after generating buzz on a limited release and just one day after scoring five Oscar nominations. The movie, which stars Jessica Chastain as a dedicated CIA analyst, easily took the top spot at the box office, beating out newcomers "A Haunted House" and "Gangster Squad" with $24 million.

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FROM MTV NEWS

The first weekend January, a notoriously slow month at the box office, found a surprise hit in Leatherface and his trusty piece of hardware.

The latest entry in the horror series, "Texas Chainsaw 3D," earned $23 million in its first weekend at US theaters. The sequel, which takes place immediately after Tobe Hooper's 1974 cult classic, won the weekend from December holdovers "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," which continued to perform surprisingly well adding $20 million to its total.

"Django Unchained"'s second-place weekend was actually enough to push it past the $100 million mark, so congrats to Tarantino and good movies performing well.

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Dr. Evil

FROM MTV NEWS

A hobbit, 13 dwarves, and a wizard ruled the weekend box office once again, but a secret agent grabbed just as many headlines.

Though "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" topped ticket sales, "Skyfall" made history by becoming the first film in the 007 series to cross the $1 billion mark. The previous record-holder for the franchise, "Casino Royale," earned $600 million, a measly sum by comparison.

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FROM MTV NEWS

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" was, predictably, the one to rule them all at the weekend box office. The first leg of Peter Jackson's fantasy trilogy took in a record-breaking $87.4 million, the largest December three-day open of all time.

The "Lord of the Rings" prequel beat out previous champ "I Am Legend," which held the record at $77.2 million, and former series leader "The Return of the King," which bowed at $73.3 million. It should be noted, however, that IMAX and 3-D surcharges factored heavily in the record, since total ticket sales for "An Unexpected Journey" fell short of both films.

"Rise of the Guardians" continued to hold-on in second place, taking in an additional $7.4 million, with "Lincoln" close behind at $7.2 million.

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Skyfall

Three weekends with no major new releases to speak of have resulted in a somewhat odd box office result. "Skyfall"—you know, that movie that came out a month ago—earned the most money of any film this weekend, taking in an estimated $11 million and returning to the top spot after three weeks at number two, behind "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."

The winning weekend brought "Skyfall"'s worldwide total to $918 million, making it, by far, the highest earning Bond movie of all-time and the biggest Sony Pictures movie ever.

Elsewhere, Gerard Butler continued his series of poor career choices with "Playing for Keeps," the widest new release of the week. The film opened at just $6 million, making it the second flop this year for Butler, whose "Chasing Mavericks" has earned $5.8 million to date.

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Twilight

FROM MTV NEWS

It was a hard-fought battle for box office supremacy, but at the end of the day, it's still very hard to kill a vampire.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" once again claimed the top spot at theaters for the third week in a row, barely beating out Britain's finest, James Bond in "Skyfall." The holdovers dominated in a soft weekend for new releases.

The finale of Stephenie Meyers' vampire series took in an additional $17.4 million, bringing its worldwide total past the $700 million mark, while "Skyfall" came up just short with $17 million.

"Killing Them Softly," the latest from Brad Pitt and director Andrew Dominik, provided journalists with generous fodder for bad headline puns, debuting in seventh place with $7 million.

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Breaking Dawn

FROM MTV NEWS

If the box office results are any indication, movie goers like vampires, secret agents, and historically accurate political procedurals with their Thanksgiving turkey. Raking in a total of $206.7 million, this weekend was the single highest-grossing Thanksgiving holiday in history.

Leading the pack once again was "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," which added $43 million to it total. That figure now sits at a handsome $227 million.

Not far behind, James Bond kept his strong hold on the box office with "Skyfall" taking in an additional $36 million, making it the first film in the series to surpass the $200 million mark. "Lincoln," also performed well, bringing in $25 million for a strong third place finish.

The big disappoint of the weekend was DreamWorks' "Rise of the Guardians." The holiday mash-up only took in $24 million, much lower than expected.

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Twilight

FROM MTV NEWS

"The Twilight Saga" went out with a bang this past weekend, when "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" debuted with $141.3 million, making the eight biggest opening weekend of all time. That figure just nearly missed the record for the series, which still belongs to "New Moon" with $142.8 million.

But not every major box office story of the weekend had to do with vampires and werewolves. James Bond continued his big screen conquest with "Skyfall." The 23rd film in the 50-year-old series added $41 million to its domestic gross, enough to send it over the top as the highest earning entry in the series so far.

"Lincoln" expanded to 1,775 theaters and took its high per-screen average with it, making $21 million over the weekend.

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Skyfall

FROM MTV NEWS

James Bond kicked ass this weekend in more than one way. Not only was "Skyfall" heralded as one of the best entries in the series' history, but made an amount of money worthy of Her Majesty.

"Skyfall," the 23rd Bond movie, took in $87.8 million dollars during its opening weekend, a total that doesn't take into account the early IMAX screenings that took place on the Thursday before the opening. That number trounced the previous series record for opening weekend, held by "Quantum of Solace" with its $67.5 million debut.

The other major story of the weekend was the astonishing performance of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" during its limited release. On only 11 screens, the historical drama took in $900,000, averaging $81,000 per screen.

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