By Sarah Sluis
Exorcism-themed The Rite led the box office this weekend with $15 million. More a thriller than a horror movie, the film lured a slightly older audience, and attracted both genders equally. Back in August, The Last Exorcism opened to $24 million, so this movie did well considering its inferior January timeslot.
Action-fueled The Mechanic tied with The Green Hornet, earning $11.5 million. Distributor CBS Films has been struggling to get some hits. This film will be their second-highest opening weekend after The Back-Up Plan.
In the wake of its twelve Oscar nominations, Weinstein Co. release The King's Speech launched an expansion that led to a 40% increase from last week and $11.1 million. Compared to other nominees, this story of friendship between a stuttering king and his speech therapist held back from pursuing a quick expansion. In terms of cumulative gross, it's still behind The Social Network, True Grit, and Black Swan, but it's approaching the total of The Fighter, which is currently at $78 million after eight weeks, compared to The King's Speech's $72 million in ten weeks. New York Times columnist David Carr recently wrote an article talking about Harvey Weinstein's comeback, comparing him to Jason rising from the dead in Friday the 13th. The King's Speech performance, both at the box office and awards shows (it recently won the DGA award for Best Feature Directing and the SAG award for Best Ensemble), is a big win for a distributor that was near bankruptcy a year ago.
127 Hours also launched an expansion in the wake of Oscar nominations, adding another $2 million to the film's coffers. Even as most of the nominated films dropped theatres, True Grit rose 4% to $7.6 million, and The Fighter dipped just 2.6% to $4 million. Black Swan glided down 33% to $5.1 million. Blue Valentine, farther down the list, rose 33% to bring in $1.1 million.
Hispanic-targeted romantic comedy From Prada to Nada opened outside of the top ten with $1.1 million, but its per-screen average of $4,300 bested half of the releases in the top ten.
This Friday, the Super Bowl's not getting in the way of male-targeted releases. Sanctum 3D will enter the fray, hoping to get the adrenaline-fueled crowd before the big Sunday football game. Targeting teen females not interested by the game, The Roommate, starring "Gossip Girl's" Leighton Meester, will also hit theatres.