Studio estimates Sunday show the controversial Osama bin Laden manhunt drama nabbed first place with $24 million in its first weekend as a wide release.
"Zero Dark Thirty" debuted nationwide this weekend after opening in a limited run last month. The Sony film earned five Academy Award nominations last week, including best picture, original screenplay and best actress for Jessica Chastain as dogged CIA operative Maya.
Open Road Films' horror parody "A Haunted House" starring Marlon Wayans came in second place with a solid $18.8 million.
The Warner Bros. mobster drama "Gangster Squad" starring Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling as off-the-books police officers opened in third place with $16.7 million.