In its first weekend of release, Zero Dark Thirty, about the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama bin laden, stormed into theaters to top the box office despite critical controversy that the film’s graphic torture scene glorifies torture.
Although Zero Dark Thirty picked up a Best Picture nod at this week’s Oscar nominations, director Kathryn Bigelow was left out of the Best Director category. In 2008, Bigelow won Best Director for The Hurt Locker, which also won Best Picture the same year.
What appears to be negative press turning into good momentum for the film, Zero Dark Thirty beat the horror spoof A Haunted House at $16.8 million and the highly anticipated Gangster Squad which took in $16.7 million to finish the weekend in third.
On Rotten Tomatoes, critics have Zero Dark Thirty rated at 93% while audiences have the film at 86%. However, critics and audiences are a world apart on A Haunted House with a 10% rating from movie critics and an 87% fresh score from fans. Critics and fans are also far apart on Gangster Squad with 34% critical opinion and 70% from audiences.
Rounding out the weekend’s Top 5, Django Unchained took in $11.1 million while Les Miserables earned $10.1 million.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty stars recent Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Scott Adkins, Joel Edgerton and James Gandolfini.
“For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar(R) winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the story of history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man.”
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