Mama, a horror film with a modest budget of $15 million, debuted in impressive fashion over the weekend, bringing in the most ticket revenue of any current release, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie raked in $28.5 million, nearly doubling its estimated production budget. The film is distributed by Universal, a subsidiary of GE (NYSE:GE) and Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBCUniversal.
Coming in at No.2 was a strong candidate for Best Picture at next month's Academy Awards, Zero Dark Thirty. Like Mama, the drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden stars Jessica Chastain. Now in its second month of release, and No. 1 last weekend, its box office gross was just under $16 million over the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). It brought in an estimated $18.7 million total counting Monday, according to Box Office Mojo. (Mama's four-day take was an estimated $33 million.) Sony (NYSE:SNE) is the distributor of Zero Dark Thirty.
Two full-budget films with big-name stars performed weakly in their debuts. Broken City, a political suspense tale with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe as the leads, was only No. 5 in theaters. It posted a gross of $8.3 million over the three-day weekend against an estimated production budget of $35 million. Broken City's distributor is News Corp's (NASDAQ:FOX) Fox. Meanwhile, The Last Stand, with ex-politician and 1980s action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, could only muster ninth place and about $6.2 million in ticket sales. Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) distributes the film. Over the four-day weekend, Broken City ranked No. 6 and The last Stand ranked No. 10.
Eric Volkman owns shares of Lions Gate Entertainment. The Motley Fool owns shares of GE. The Motley Fool is short Sony (ADR). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.