(Reuters) - Jessica Chastain in a low-budget horror flick overpowered Mark Wahlberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger to emerge as the weekend box office champ, while her Oscar-nominated "Zero Dark Thirty" captured the second spot as well.
Chastain's supernatural thriller, "Mama," pulled in $28.1 million from Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to studio estimates, beating out a crop of new testosterone-fueled, male-targeted releases that finished far back in the pack.
"Zero Dark Thirty," for which Chastain is a leading best actress Oscar contender, took in $17.6 million, while another 2012 release and Oscar favorite, "Silver Linings Playbook," finished third with $11.35 million.
"Broken City," a crime thriller starring Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, finished fifth with $9 million behind "Gangster Squad's" $9.1 million, while Schwarzenegger's new action film, "The Last Stand," earned $6.3 million for a dismal 10th place.
"Mama" stars Chastain as a guitarist who doesn't want children but is forced to take care of two orphaned nieces who have been living in the woods. Based on a 2008 short film, the movie was produced for roughly $15 million.
"Mama" was released by Comcast Corp's Universal Studios. "Broken City" was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.
Sony Corp's movie studio released "Zero Dark Thirty." "Gangster Squad" was distributed by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. Lions Gate Entertainment distributed "The Last Stand." The Weinstein Co released "Silver Linings Playbook."
(Reporting By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)