Hollywood - Jessica Chastain in a low-budget horror flick overpowered Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger to emerge as the weekend box office champ, while her Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty captured the second spot as well.
Chastain's supernatural thriller, Mama, pulled in $28.1m from Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to studio estimates, beating out a crop of new testosterone-fueled, male-targeted releases that finished far back in the pack.
Zero Dark Thirty, for which Chastain is a leading best actress Oscar contender, took in $17.6m, while another 2012 release and Oscar favorite, Silver Linings Playbook, finished third with $11.35m.
Broken City, a crime thriller starring Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, finished fifth with $9 million behind Gangster Squad's $9.1m, while Schwarzenegger's new action film, The Last Stand, earned $6.3m for a dismal 10th place.
Mama stars Chastain as a guitarist who doesn't want children but is forced to take care of two orphaned nieces who have been living in the woods. Based on a 2008 short film, the movie was produced for roughly $15m.
Mama was released by Comcast's Universal Studios. Broken City was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.
Sony's movie studio released Zero Dark Thirty. Gangster Squad was distributed by Warner, a unit of Time Warner. Lions Gate Entertainment distributed The Last Stand. The Weinstein released Silver Linings Playbook.
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