Box Office: ‘The Rite’ Stakes a Claim

Despite some pretty scathing reviews, the exorcism film The Rite won the weekend box office with $15 M. Although the film won, that is a pretty disappointing total for a weekend box office winner. This is one of those films where there was a wide disconnect between critics and audiences. The people who were polled by Cinemascore after seeing the movie  gave it a satisfactory “B” average rating. Compare that to the 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Huge disparity.

No Strings Attached held pretty strong in its second weekend.  The romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher came in at number two. The film only dropped a modest 30%, making about $13.6 M.  It has been a bit of a surprise hit, mostly due to a tight $25 M budget.  The two week total stands at $39 M.

The weekend’s other new release was The Mechanic, and it came in closely behind No Strings Attached with $11.5 M. It had a fairly average per/screen average of about $4,300. According to Sunday’s estimates, this puts The Mechanic in a tie with holdover The Green Hornet, which also made $11.5 M. After three weeks, Hornet has made over $78 M.

The big story this week is The King’s Speech, which upstaged The Social Network at the DGA awards and the SAG awards over the weekend.  The film is getting a serious bounce from all the awards talk, but The Weinstein Company also increased the theater count for the film by over $40% this weekend. Smart.

The film is catching a wave of press and even the casual movie-goer has heard of it by now, plus it is more readily available. That all adds up to over $72 M at the box office, without a traditional wide opening. It is almost a given that this week the movie will enjoy a post-awards bump in business.

In other film news, True Grit is closing in on $150 M.  Expect it to do so this week. Speaking of True Grit, how cute was Hailee Steinfeld at the SAG awards?  Sure, she didn’t win (Melissa Leo stole her thunder for The Fighter) but boy did she look fabulous (and blessedly age appropriate).  Can’t wait to see what this actress has ahead of her.

Next week we’ll see Sanctum duke it out with The Roommate.

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