In narrower release, Matt Damon's natural-gas fracking drama "Promised Land" had a slow start in its nationwide debut, coming in at No. 10 with $4.3 million after opening in limited release a week earlier.
Released by Focus Features, "Promised Land" stars Damon as a salesman pitching rural residents on fracking technology to drill for natural gas. The film widened to 1,676 theaters, averaging a slim $2,573 a cinema, compared with $8,666 in 2,654 theaters for "Texas Chainsaw."
Hollywood began the year where it left in 2012, when business surged during the holidays to carry the industry to a record $10.8 billion at the domestic box office.
Overall business this weekend came in at $149 million, up 7 percent from the same period last year, when "The Devil Inside" led with $33.7 million, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com. But with strong business on New Year's Day last week, Hollywood already has raked in $254.2 million, 33 percent ahead of last year.
Box-office results ebb and flow quickly, so that lead could vanish almost overnight. But with a steady lineup of potential hits right through December, studios have a chance at another revenue record this year.
"The month that we had at the end of last year that led us to a record year continued right through New Year's and on now to the first official weekend of 2013," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "We're looking for an even stronger year this year. That's in the realm of possibility. But we have 51 weekends to go."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Texas Chainsaw 3-D," $23 million.
2. "Django Unchained," $20.1 million.