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.
It took just one weekend of a wide release for "Zero Dark Thirty" to overtake "The Hurt Locker" 's lifetime gross of $17 million, which still holds the record for lowest-earning Best Picture winner of all time.
The Josh Brolin-Ryan Gosling period crime flick seriously missed the mark with its third place open and disappointing $16.7 million total. "Gangster Squad" had originally been scheduled for a September release, but similarities to the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado created the need for reshoots.