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Action remake of 'Hansel & Gretel' wins box office


Jan 27 (Reuters) - A new take on the classic "Hansel & Gretel" fairy tale grabbed the No. 1 spot on movie box office charts with $19 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend.

"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" is an action movie that morphs the children's story into an action comedy, with the characters now grown into crossbow-wielding, adult bounty hunters. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play the lead roles.

The witch hunters knocked last week's winner, Jessica Chastain's low-budget horror flick "Mama," into second place. "Mama" earned $12.8 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters.

"Silver Linings Playbook," about a bipolar man's unlikely romance, came in third with $10 million in weekend sales, while "Zero Dark Thirty," which also stars Chastain, finished in fourth place. The drama about the CIA's decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden grossed $9.8 million for the weekend.

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc, released "Hansel and Gretel." "Mama" was distributed by Universal Studios, a unit of Comcast Corp. Sony Corp's movie studio released "Zero Dark Thirty."