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December 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Opening in limited release, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty was the clear weekend winner on a per-theater basis. The movie, the object of attack by some critics for its suggestion that torture — or “enhanced interrogation” as its supporters euphemistically refer to it — played a valid role in the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, brought in an estimated $410,000 from five theaters in New York and Los Angeles, or an average of $82,000 per screen. By contrast, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the No. 1 film at the box office, averaged $9,000 per screen. The film may have benefited from front-page attacks on it during the week by several opponents of torture techniques, including former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, who denied that waterboarding played any role whatsoever in hunting down bin Laden. Several conservatives, on the other hand, noting that the filmmakers had extraordinary access to CIA files, praised the film for supporting their position that such tactics work. Commented “You can make the case that the criticism could actually help Zero Dark Thirty at the box office by keeping it in the headlines and piquing the interest of moviegoers.”