The weekend was expected to belong to Django or Bilbo, but that pesky Leatherface and his new crop of attractive victims cut them from the top spot at the box office when Texas Chainsaw 3D emerged the surprise winner. The Lionsgate feature scared up an $23 million, well above expectations for the most recent reboot of the horror franchise. The film, which opened in 2,654 locations in North America on Friday, fared better than 2006's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which opened at $18. 5 million.
The runner-up for Texas Chainsaw 3D was Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which dropped 33 percent from last weekend and came in second place with $20 million. The box office total for the Weinstein Company feature to date is now $106.3 million and the bloody good revenge flick is well on its way to becoming Tarantino's highest-grossing film to date. (It should soon surpass 2009's Inglorious Basterds, which currently holds the title at $120.8 million!)
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which took a 45 percent dip from its impressive New Year's number, earned yet another $17.5 million, bringing its total thus far for the Warner Bros. 3D adventure to $263.8 million.
Rounding out the Top 5 were Tom Hooper's soaring musical adaptation Les Miserables in the number four position with $16.1 million. Tough it took a steep 41 percent drop, the Universal feature passed the $100 million mark and is now singing the tune of $103.6 million at the box office to date. Finally, the family-friendly comedy Parental Guidance came in fifth place with $10.1 million, bringing Fox's Billy Crystal-starrer to $52.6 million in its second week of release.
While Texas Chainsaw 3D was the only new release to do big business, Gus Van Sant's limited-release fracking drama starring Matt Damon, Promised Land cracked the Top 10 in its second week. The Focus Features film earned $4.3 million when after expanding to 1,676 theaters. (Fellow critically praised dramas Zero Dark Thirty and The Impossible were also in limited release this weekend, at 60 and 572 locations, respectively, and will expand even wider next weekend.)
Check out the full Top 10 numbers here:
1. Texas Chainsaw 3D: $23 million 2. Django Unchained: $20 million 3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: $17.5 million 4. Les Miserables: $16.1 million 5. Parental Guidance: $10.1 million 6. Jack Reacher: $9.3 million 7. This Is 40: $8.5 million 8. Lincoln: $5.2 million 9. The Guilt Trip: $4.5 million 10. Promised Land: $4.3 million
[Photo credit: Justin Lubin/Lionsgate]
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Good news everyone! The first terrible movie of 2013 is in theaters in both 2D and barely 3D and it's called Texas Chainsaw! The special effects are terrible the plot is riddled with holes and it's unintentionally funny. The upside is that it's funnier than Parental Guidance and Leatherface is looking at least as rough around the edges as Billy Crystal. The downside is that any horror fan will be disappointed by its cheap tacky-looking effects and people who shelled out the extra money for 3D are being taken for a ride.
As fans of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre know you can make a bloody great horror movie for not a lot of dough. Part of the charm of the first was its gritty sleazy aftertaste and the crazy family dynamics of an all-male clan whose most-bullied member is a giant freak who wears other people's faces on top of his face. It was a fairly simple set-up loosely based on Ed Gein's propensity for digging up corpses decorating his home with their body parts and wearing the skin of dead ladies. Unlike other horror movies there wasn't a great formula that could be replicated over and over again — no Crystal Lake with horny teens or endless nightmares to invade — so most of the follow-ups have tried to untangle the Sawyer family tree. As the wonderful/terrible Drayton Sawyer says in the wonderfully bonkers Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 "The saw is family!" Would that filmmakers would just leave it at that.
The latest Chainsaw tries to add another branch to its tree with the arrival of Heather (Alexandra Daddario) a young woman who finds out that she was adopted if you can call being stolen from the arms of her dying mother after hicks burned her house down “adopted.” Heather is part of the infamous Sawyer clan and a cousin of Leatherface and she's inherited a strangely fancy old house somewhere in Texas from a grandmother she never knew she had. She also inherits Leatherface who lurks in the basement but she doesn't realize that until after he's killed all of her friends because she forgot to read her grandmother's letter until it's too late. But by then the mantra "Family is family" has been drilled into her and the script has been flipped; the monster that killed her friends and countless others is the victim of cruel townspeople who killed her family. (To be fair Heather's friends were stultifyingly dumb and boring and deserved to be killed.)
What makes this iteration so puzzling is that it features footage at the very beginning from the original movie which leads longtime fans to believe it will fit into that particular family configuration as opposed to later movies that added in random family members. Instead Chainsaw veers crazily in another direction and actually creates an entirely different family history that doesn't make sense on its own terms or in the original first two Chainsaw movies.
Texas Chainsaw had no less than four people involved in its script (the story was by Adam Marcus Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms while Marcus Sullivan and Stephen Susco are the credited screenwriters) which could explain why it's such a mess. The 3D is a joke; occasionally Leatherface will thrust the chainsaw at the screen or even better someone will throw the chainsaw. While the gore will definitely be too much for the squeamish it looks like bargain basement Halloween effects to the eye of an experienced horror movie fan. The cast isn't much better; Bill Moseley who appeared in the second movie plays a young Drayton Sawyer since the original actor Jim Siedow died in 2003. Marilyn Burns who played the final girl in the original movie shows up briefly as Heather's grandmother in a flashback. Daddario isn't given much to work with so it seems almost unfair to judge her based on this performance; her co-stars especially singer/songwriter Trey Songz are uniformly terrible. Even Leatherface played by Dan Yeager seems exhausted by this whole ordeal. The original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen appears in the beginning as one of the Sawyer clan. One can only imagine what he and Burns talked about around craft services.
To conceive of a Texas no longer plagued by Chainsaw Massacres… what a world that would be. The upcoming installment, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, has just added Alexandra Daddaro to its cast. Daddaro is still relatively new to film; she led Percy Jackson and the Olympians (and is rumored to do the same for a sequel) and played a supporting role in Hall Pass.
John Luessenhop will direct this new Massacre, which will be the seventh big-screen incarnation of the idea developed by Tobe Hooper (for whom the upcoming film’s protagonist is named) in 1974. You’ve given cinema a new face, Mr. Hooper. A face of leather.
Daddaro’s character is reported to be a somewhat dark and disturbed, but generally “good” woman named Heather, whose ambiguous connections to the murders prompt her to investigate.