Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Hansel And Gretel tops box office

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters

Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters cooked up 19 million dollars in its opening weekend in the US.

Paramount's action film update on the classic fairytale topped the box office, according to studio estimates. Hansel And Gretel features Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as grown-up renditions of the title characters battling witches with crossbows.

Don Harris, Paramount's president of distribution, blamed icy weather on the East Coast for the film's not-so-bewitching debut.

"We got dinged a little bit with the weather on Friday, but overall we're pleased," said Harris, who added that Hansel And Gretel performed solidly internationally, earning 25 million dollars overseas.

Other films opening over the weekend in the US and Canada didn't fare as well. The crime thriller Parker, starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, debuted in fifth place with seven million dollars, while Relativity Media's raunchy ensemble comedy Movie 43 opened in the seventh spot with five million dollars.

Hollywood.com box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian noted that it was the first time box-office grosses were down over last year after four up weekends.

Universal's supernatural horror film Mama starring Jessica Chastain dropped to second place with 12.8 million dollars in its second weekend.

Several best-picture Academy Awards contenders continued to benefit from Oscar buzz, as well as the motion picture academy's decision to move up this year's nomination announcement, giving nominees more time in cinemas between the January 10 nominations unveiling and the February 24 ceremony.

"Having an Oscar nomination is like holding a lottery ticket," said Dergarabedian. "It could pay off on Oscar night, but it's already paying big dividends now. All this time between the Oscar nominations and the telecast is prime time for these movies to capitalise on their higher profile."

Silver Linings Playbook, which is up for eight Academy Awards, came in third place over the weekend with 10 million dollars. The film is in its 11th weekend of release and earned three million dollars overseas. And Zero Dark Thirty, also starring best actress nominee Jessica, dropped to fourth place with 9.8 million dollars.

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