Director Kathryn Bigelow may not have earned an Oscar nomination (her snub, along with Ben Affleck’s, proved the main talking point on the morning of the nominations), but Sony’s Osama Bin Laden assassination drama Zero Dark Thirty is still riding a wave of good will from the five nominations it did receive, and it shot straight to number one at the box office on Friday.

Zero Dark Thirty expanded from 60 to 2,937 theaters yesterday, allowing it to gross a sizzling $9.0 million on its first day of wide release. The controversial film, which earned an “A-” CinemaScore, may take in about $25 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period — right in line with the $24.5 million that the last Navy SEAL film, Act of Valor, earned in its debut weekend last year.

The poorly-reviewed horror spoof A Haunted House finished in second place with $6.7 million on Friday. Due to its young target demographic, which is more likely to rush to the theater on opening night, A Haunted House will likely prove front-loaded, and it may earn about $17 million in its debut. That’s a great result considering the Open Road Films comedy, which audiences issued a “B-” CinemaScore, cost only $2.5 million.

Warner Bros.’ L.A. crime drama Gangster Squad finished a touch behind A Haunted House with $6.7 million (technically, $6.65 million), though it should hold up a bit better over the course of the weekend. The Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone vehicle, which garnered a “B” CinemaScore, could climb into second place with about $18.5 million.

Rounding out the Top 5 were two Christmas Day releases that have held up well since their robust debuts. Django Unchained took fourth place with $3.5 million, and it could take $11 million. Les Miserables, meanwhile, dreamed up another $2.8 million, putting it on pace for a $9 million frame.

1. Zero Dark Thirty – $9.0 million

2. A Haunted House – $6.7 million

3. Gangster Squad – $6.7 million

4. Django Unchained – $3.5 million

5. Les Miserables – $2.8 million

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report.

For more box office updates/analysis:

Django Unchained

  • Movie
  • R
  • 165 minutes
  • Quentin Tarantino