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"Zero Dark Thirty" leads weekend box office

"Zero Dark Thirty," Hollywood's re-telling of the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden, captured the No. 1 spot on movie box office charts over the weekend with 24 million dollars (USD) in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales. The movie starring Jessica Chastain as a dogged CIA agent edged out the horror movie spoof "A Haunted House," as well as "Gangster Squad." Caught in political controversy, "Zero Dark Thirty" received a boost this week from five Oscar nominations, including best picture, though its director Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed in the best director category. Further adding to the controversy, a Senate Committee is investigating whether the CIA spy agency provided the filmmakers with any inappropriate access to secret material. The low-budget "A Haunted House" debuted to 18.8 million, beating out period noir "Gangster Squad." The film tells the story of a man dealing with his wife after she becomes possessed by the devil inhabiting their dream home. "Gangster Squad" opened in third place at 16.7 million. The film stars Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling and originally included a scene eerily similar to the Aurora, Colorado tragedy in which gunmen open fire from behind a movie screen. A new scene was filmed and the movie's September premiere date was pushed to January. Quentin Tarantino Western "Django Unchained" landed in fourth place with 11 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters and the musical "Les Miserables" took in 10 million to round out the top five. There were plenty of smiles and laughs at the 10th Anniversary G'Day USA Los Angeles black tie gala, an event that highlights and honors the talent and accomplishments of "Aussies" in Hollywood. "Aussie" A-list stars Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman were among those walking the red carpet at the event that was held to honor actor/pitchman Paul Hogan, rising star Rose Byrne and John Travolta.

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