7 Jan 2013

Leatherface chainsaws Hobbit off box-office perch.

11:12 pm on 7 January 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D, set immediately after the events in Tobe Hooper's classic 1974 slasher picture, made $US23 million in its opening weekend - clawing back in just a couple of days the $20m film company Lionsgate spend on its production.

Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained held firm at number two, making $US20.1m, while The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey slipped to number three, the BBC reports.

Sir Peter's return to Middle Earth has so far taken $263.8 million in the USA, and about $825 million globally, and is reported to be the the fifth highest-grossing film of 2012, and the 34th highest-grossing film of all time.

Fourth place went to musical adaptation Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. It has now passed the $100m mark, the first musical movie to do so in under 14 days.

And fifth position went to Billy Crystal's big screen comeback Parental Guidance, about an elderly couple left in charge of their grandchildren.

Banned classic

Texas Chainsaw 3D is the seventh film in the horror franchise, featuring an antagonist called Leatherface, who wears a mask made of human skin. The character was reportedly based on serial killer Ed Gein, who also inspired Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

The major draw was said to be singer-songwriter Trey Songz, who stars in the film alongside Alexandra Daddario and Dan Yeager.

Lower down the charts, Matt Damon's gas-fracking drama Promised Land had a slow start, debuting at number 10 with $4.3m after opening in limited release a week earlier.

And Kathryn Bigelow's hotly-tipped CIA drama Zero Dark Thirty continued to dominate specialist cinemas, making $2.75 million from a meagre 60 screens.

The latest US box office figures come as it was reported that 2012 was a record year for US cinema.

Total ticket sales for the year reached $10.8 billion, with a 6% rise in admissions - the largest in more than a decade - reported film trade newspaper Variety.