“Zero Dark Thirty” Opens Big

By Kirsten Anderson Box Office

New York and LA audiences love "Zero Dark Thirty."

A couple of movies got a jump on the holiday weekend with Wednesday openings. While there were some national openers like “The Guilt Trip” and “Monsters Inc. 3D,” the movie that made the biggest splash was “Zero Dark Thirty,” which opened in very limited release to qualify for the Oscars before going wide in January.

The film scored the biggest Wednesday opening for a limited release, with $124,848 from five locations in New York and Los Angeles. That’s a $24,969 per screen average, easily besting some other films known for their strong Wednesday openings: bigger than American Beauty (6 runs for $73K), Little Miss Sunshine (7 runs for $66K), and even all the way back to 1991 and Marty Scorsese’s Cape Fear (10 runs for $115K on December 28th).

Yes, I know it seems like we’ve reached a point of total insanity if we’re parsing “limited Wednesday opening” box office records. However, it’s interesting because “Zero Dark Thirty” has gotten so much attention already. I don’t think anyone has thought of it as having a lot of box office appeal for mainstream audiences, but maybe it will do better than expected. I’m not saying a hit or a number one movie, but I think its prospects are looking considerably brighter.

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