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“Exorcism” ascends, “Takers” do just that

Three new movies made respectable debuts in a typically slow late August weekend. The Last Exorcism opened to largely positive reviews, earning a whopping 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and repossessing $20.3 million from audiences. Takers didn’t get quite such a warm reception from the critics — it had a Tomatometer of 28%. Movie fans have a mind of their own and gathered to view the caper to the tune of $20.5 million. In a reviersal of estimates, Takers stole the weekend.

Although the two leads had nearly identical hauls, they had quite different relative standing. For a horror movie, The Last Exorcism had a successful weekend, just not as successful as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which made $30 million its first weekend in 2005. Takers, on the other hand, outdid similar low-profile ensemble action films this year such as The Losers and Brooklyn’s Finest. 

Avatar: Special Edition didn’t actually make the top ten and returned to the number 11 position with $4 million in sales. Don’t worry about James Cameron’s house payment however; the total domestic box office for Avatar is $753 million. The special edition was released on just more than 800 screens. Moreover, it had its own home edition to compete with. The rest of the top ten was unspectacular, slowly ebbing toward unremarkable finishes.

The Top Eleven

  1. 1. Takers – $20.5M (weekend)… $20.5M (gross)
  2. 2. The Last Exorcism – $20.3M…$20.3M
  3. 3. The Expendables – $9.5M…$82.0M
  4. 4. Eat Pray Love – $6.8M…$60.5M
  5. 5. The Other Guys – $6.2M…$99M
  6. 6. Vampires Suck – $5.2M… $27.8M
  7. 7. Inception – $4.8M … $270M
  8. 8. Nanny McPhee Returns – $4.7M… $16.9M
  9. 9. The Switch – $4.5M… $16.4M
  10. 10. Piranha 3D – $4.3M … $18.2M
  11. 11. Avatar: Special Edition – $4.0M… $4.0M

 

Fall movie season is a decidedly slower and more niche-focused release window. Expect Oscar bait, horror films, and a hodgepodge of middling comedies and dramas. The American fits the bill next week. George Clooney returns to action in a story that takes place in Italy where an assassin hides out on his last job. Clooney only surfaces for movies that maintain his debonair craving-an-Academy-Award types of movies so it can be assumed this film delves deeper than its generic plot.

The American gets a head start Wednesday over B picture Machete starring cult favorite yet somehow never famous Danny Trejo. The movie is an expansion on a fake trailer last seen in Grindhouse a film that only registered $25 million in spring 2007. With a hard R rating but hopefully shorter runtime, Machete could outdo its source material. Still, obscure movies with even more obscure origins have not proven to do well in 2010: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Kick-Ass, and The Losers come to mind.

Going the Distance opens the widest at 2,900 locations. Drew Barrymore is certainly a likeable actress; however the romantic comedy genre is a fickle beast. Justin Long also stars in this romance about long distance relationships. None of the premiering films has received much of a push in advertising, leaving the number one spot up to anyone’s guess.

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