‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ Shocks Box Office With #1 Debut

Latest in horror series takes in $23 million, topping both 'Django Unchained' and 'The Hobbit.'

They may say you can’t go home again, but nobody told that to Leatherface.

Much like last year’s low-budget found-footage flick “The Devil Inside,” “Texas Chainsaw 3D” defied industry expectations over the weekend by becoming the #1 movie in America. The latest flick to be spun from the early-’70s horror classic about chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface scared up $23 million at the box-office.

“The Devil Inside” opened with $33.7 million but suffered after the fact from an audience CinemaScore of “F.” “Texas Chainsaw 3D” managed a “C+” CinemaScore and opened stronger than the 2006 prequel “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.” Jessica Biel co-starred in a remake three years before that eventually made $80.6 million after opening with $28.1 million.

Alexandria Daddario (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians”) and Tania Raymonde (“Wild Cherry”) star in “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” about a girl who heads to Texas to pick up an inheritance but runs into you-know-who. Trey Songz has a role in it, as well. One in three people under 25 who saw “Texas Chainsaw 3D” over the weekend said they came to watch the 28-year-old Grammy nominated singer onscreen.

Granted, “Texas Chainsaw 3D” was the only major new release over the weekend, but its numbers were still impressive, particularly given last week’s forecasts.

Quentin Tarantino’s holiday-week hit “Django Unchained” was #2 with $20.8 million, which put the pre-Civil War set movie’s 13-day total at $106.4 million. The fast-talking filmmaker’s biggest movie to date is “Inglourious Basterds” (which earned an Oscar for “Django” co-star Christoph Waltz), which finished with $120.5 million in 2009. At press time, both films sat at 88 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, which aggregates and averages reviews from film critics.

Previous box-office champ “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was #3 over the weekend with $17.5 million. Peter Jackson’s latest J.R.R. Tolkien-driven tale, the first in a new trilogy, has collected $263.8 million domestically and $561 million overseas.

Oscar hopeful “Les Misérables” was #4 with $16 million for a domestic total of $103.6 million. Last year’s Oscar host Billy Crystal’s first major film in a decade, “Parental Guidance,” was #5 with $10.1 million for a 13-day total of $52.8 million.

Speaking of the Oscars, director Kathryn Bigelow nabbed Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture with “The Hurt Locker”; her follow-up effort, “Zero Dark Thirty,” has also been embraced by critics. Expanding from five theaters to 60 over the weekend, the drama about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden averaged $45,834 per screen. (Oscar nominations for 2012′s movies will be revealed Thursday).

Neither Matt Damon and John Krasinski’s “Promised Land” nor Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts’ “The Impossible” fared as well with their expansion efforts. Environmental drama “Promised Land,” co-written by Damon and Krasinski and directed by “Good Will Hunting” helmer Gus Van Sant, had a per-screen average of only $2573 as it moved from 25 locations to 1,676. Tsunami drama “The Impossible” went from 15 to 572 and managed only a $4,825 per-screen average.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Texas Chainsaw 3D.”