13 January 2013 12:00 PM, PST | Box Office Mojo | See recent BoxOfficeMojo.com news »

Fueled by great reviews and endless controversy, CIA thriller Zero Dark Thirty took the top spot in its nationwide expansion with $24.4 million. Among the newcomers, A Haunted House wound up in second place ahead of Gangster Squad, which is a bit of a surprise. Meanwhile, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook leveraged multiple Oscar nominations in to nice bumps this weekend. Playing at 2,937 locations, Zero Dark Thirty's $24.4 million is higher than the debuts of other recent acclaimed adult-leaning movies like Lincoln ($21 million) and Argo ($19.5 million). Against some of its other comparable titles, though, it's less impressive: Black Hawk Down opened to $28.6 million 11 years ago, while last February's modern warfare movie Act of Valor scored $24.5 million. Sony originally had Zero Dark Thirty scheduled for nationwide release in December, but made the shrewd decision to instead go with a platform release. That not only helped the movie avoid the pre-Christmas traffic jam, »

- Ray Subers <mail@boxofficemojo.com>

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