In a surprise upset, Lionsgate's Texas Chainsaw 3D placed No. 1 at the Friday box office with a healthy debut of $10.2 million.
The R-rated film is now expected to win the weekend with a gross in the $20 million to $22 million range, marking a victory for Lionsgate.
Pre-release tracking had suggested that holdovers The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Django Unchained would battle it out for No. 1, followed by Les Miserables.
Picking up where Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic slasher film left off, Texas Chainsaw earned a C+ CinemaScore. Normally, a poor grade would spell trouble for a film's playability, but horror films often receive a C.
Django, from the Weinstein Co., came in No. 2 on Friday, grossing $6.2 million for a domestic total of $92.4 million. The Quentin Tarantino film is expected to earn in the $19.5 million range for the weekend.
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit and Tom Hooper's Le Mis were in a relatively close race Friday.
Hobbit came in slightly ahead, grossing $5.2 million for a domestic total of $251.5 million. Overseas, the New Line and MGM tentpole has earned north of $500 million.
Universal's Les Mis placed No. 4 with $5 million for a domestic total of $92.5 million.
Family comedy Parental Guidance rounded out the top five, grossing $3.1 million for a domestic cume of $45.8 million.