LOS ANGELES - "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" cooked up $19 million in its opening weekend.
Paramount's R-rated action film update on the classic fairytale topped the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. "Hansel & 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.
This film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Gemma Arterton as Gretel, from left, Jeremy Renner as Hansel and Pihla Viitala as Mina, in a scene from 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.'
"We got dinged a little bit with the weather on Friday, but overall we're pleased," said Harris, who added that "Hansel & Gretel" performed solidly internationally, earning $25 million overseas.
Other films opening over the weekend in the U.S. and Canada didn't fare as well. The crime thriller "Parker," starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, debuted in fifth place with $7 million, while Relativity Media's raunchy ensemble comedy "Movie 43" opened in the seventh spot with $5 million.
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 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 theaters between the Jan. 10 nominations unveiling and the Feb. 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 capitalize on their higher profile."
"Silver Linings Playbook," which is up for eight Academy Awards, came in third place over the weekend with $10 million. The film starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is in its 11th weekend of release and earned $3 million overseas.
"Zero Dark Thirty," the Osama bin Laden manhunt drama also starring Chastain, dropped to fourth place with $9.8 million. It's competing in five categories at the Academy Awards and nabbed $500,000 internationally.
"Django Unchained," which is nominated for five Oscars, took in $5 million in sixth place, and the musical "Les Miserables," which is up for eight Academy Awards, earned $3.9 million in the 10th position. It was the fifth weekend for both films. "Django" topped the international chart with $47.9 million in 65 total territories.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," $19 million ($25 million international).
2. "Mama," $12.8 million.
3. "Silver Linings Playbook," $10 million ($3 million international).
4. "Zero Dark Thirty," $9.8 million ($3.6 million international).
5. "Parker," $7 million.
6. "Django Unchained," $5 million ($42.9 million international).
7. "Movie 43," $5 million ($2.8 million international).
8. "Gangster Squad,"$4.2 million ($6.8 million international).
9. "Broken City," $4 million ($500,000 international).
10. "Les Miserables," $3.9 million ($14 million international).
Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. "Django Unchained," $42.9 million.
2. "Skyfall," $35.4 million.
3. "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," $25 million.
4. "Life of Pi," $17.5 million.
5. "Les Miserables," $14 million.
6. "Lincoln," $10.7 million.
7. "Miracle in Cell No. 7," $9.7 million.
8. "The Impossible," $7.2 million.
9. "Gangster Squad," $6.8 million.
10. "Wreck-It Ralph," $5.9 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow Lang on Twitter at www.twitter.com/derrikjlang
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.