Box Office: A Haunted House Surprises With $18.8 Million

Horror spoof beats Gangster Squad by pulling in Black, Latino audiences.

Posted: 01/14/2013 09:00 AM EST
Essence Atkins, Marlon Wayans, A Haunted House

Surprise Golden Globe winner Argo wasn't the only film to score an upset this weekend. Marlon Wayans' horror spoof A Haunted House has analysts baffled by stealing the second place spot at the box office from prestige drama Gangster Squad.

A Haunted House, which grossed $18.8 million over the weekend, stole second place on the strength of Black and Latino audiences, according to analysis by box-office tracker CinemaScore. The independently-financed comedy is another hit for Wayans, who continues to make a name for himself as a master of parody in Hollywood. His previous hits include the Scary Movie franchise and Dance Flick, which also starred Wayans' A Haunted House co-star Essence Atkins.

The good news for A Haunted House is bad news for Gangster Squad, which was meant to compete with Zero Dark Thirty for first place. Instead, it landed in third with $16.7 million. The film stars Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie

Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's CIA drama chronicling the events leading up to the capture of Osama Bin Laden, scored a comfortable first-place finish with $24 million, boosted by an array of Academy Award nominations, much critical praise and also controversy over its portrayal of water-boarding and other forms of torture. Some say the film, which is based on true events, implies that the use of torture lead to the most-wanted terrorist's capture, a claim the CIA vehemently denies. 

Next week, Oscar contenders and A Haunted House will likely continue to dominate the top five while Common's independent drama, LUV, and Ving Rhames' actioner Death Race: Inferno will attempt to break in.

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(Photo: Wayans Bros. Entertainment)

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