The Rite held off No Strings Attached and a better than expected start by The Mechanic to take first place.

‘The Rite’ Debuts at #1, ‘The Mechanic’ #3

on January 31, 2011 by Daniel Garris

Warner's The Rite debuted in first place this weekend with $14.79 million. While that was pretty much in line with expectations, it was also historically soft for an exorcism themed horror film. The PG-13 film starring Anthony Hopkins opened 18 percent softer than 2004's Exorcist: The Beginning and 27 percent softer than last year's The Last Exorcism. Exorcism themed horror films typically display very weak holding power, so that is likely to be the case with The Rite as well, especially with competition from both Sony's The Roommate and Super Bowl XLV next weekend.

While it fell one spot to second this weekend, Paramount's No Strings Attached held up quite nicely in its second weekend. The R-rated romantic comedy grossed $13.41 million, which was down 32 percent from last weekend. No Strings Attached appears to be generating good word of mouth thus far and the marketplace in general was helped this weekend from facing no competition from the NFL playoffs. No Strings Attached has grossed $39.50 million in ten days, which is in line with expectations and places the film 2 percent behind the pace of 2008's What Happens in Vegas.

It was a fairly close three-way battle for third, with CBS Films' The Mechanic edging out Sony's The Green Hornet and The Weinstein Company's The King's Speech.

The Mechanic opened a bit above expectations with $11.42 million. That represented the second largest debut in the young history of CBS Films as a distributor (behind only the $12.20 million opening of 2010's The Back-Up Plan). The Jason Statham vehicle opened in the same neighborhood as other recent Statham films such as 2008's Death Race ($12.62 million), 2008's Transporter 3 ($12.06 million) and 2006's Crank ($10.46 million). On the international front, The Mechanic opened in first place in Russia with $4.2 million.

The Green Hornet grossed $11.18 million, which was down a reasonable 37 percent from last weekend. The pricey 3D action-comedy continues to benefit from higher priced 3D admissions and the current lack of competition in the 3D marketplace. The Green Hornet has grossed $78.49 million to date, leaving it $21.51 million away from becoming the first release of 2011 to reach the $100 million domestic milestone.

The King's Speech continued its impressive run with $11.06 million. The Best Picture nominee was up a strong 41 percent from last weekend. The King's Speech continues to be helped by excellent word of mouth, growing Oscar buzz and expanding location counts (it added an additional 877 locations this weekend). The film has grossed a better than expected $72.18 million to date and shouldn't slow down any time soon.

Fellow Best Picture nominees didn't see the type of Oscar nomination bumps that The King's Speech saw, but they still continued to hold up well in their own right. Paramount's True Grit was up 3 percent to take sixth with $7.52 million, while Fox Searchlight's Black Swan was down 13 percent to finish in eighth with $5.12 million. Paramount's The Fighter was down a slim 5 percent to place in ninth with $3.96 million and Fox's Searchlight's 127 Hours landed in fourteenth with $2.14 million (after expanding into an additional 847 locations).

Respective total grosses stand at $148.31 million for True Grit, $90.72 million for Black Swan, $78.28 million for The Fighter and $13.51 million for 127 Hours. Sony's The Social Network grossed $0.44 million this weekend and has now grossed $96.02 million to date.

In Platform release Lionsgate's From Prada to Nada opened with $1.12 million from 256 locations. That gave the low-budget romantic comedy a solid per-location average of $4,358 for the weekend.

Tags: From Prada to Nada, 127 Hours, The Fighter, Black Swan, True Grit, The King's Speech, The Green Hornet, The Mechanic, No Strings Attached, The Rite

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