‘The Rite’ has the Box Office Stuff!

095142H1.jpgAnthony Hopkins has The Rite stuff this weekend as Warner Bros. markets the hell out of the film.

Having played one of the most iconic movie villains of all-time, Anthony Hopkins now takes up priestly duties in Warner Bros.’ The Rite which earned $15 million in 2985 theatres this weekend.  Given the huge marketing push for the PG-13 rated horror/thriller it is no surprise that the film grabbed the top spot.  January tends to be a fairly scary month with horror movies and thrillers appearing often enough that such films are an expected staple of the time frame.  2010 had the action-fantasy Legion and the action horror film Daybreakers while 2009 included Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and the horror entry The Unborn.”  These films had opening weekends in the $15 million to $20 million range and thus The Rite performed as expected.

Last weekend’s number one film No Strings Attached from Paramount had a very strong second weekend with a mere 31% drop and a much bigger-than-expected $13.65 million for the weekend.  The romantic comedy starring Black Swan’s Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher is now approaching the $40 million mark.

Tied for third place with $11.5 million is Sony’s “The Green Hornet” which continues to impress with a 35% third weekend drop and total domestic revenue approaching $80 million.  The Seth Rogen action/comedy hybrid has been the action genre “go to” movie since its debut.

Of course the ever present man of mayhem Jason Statham also grabbed up $11.5 million this weekend in this update of the 1972 classic action film The Mechanic which starred Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent.  Fun fact: The original and this re-make boast the classic production team of Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff.  In this CBS Films release, the terrific Ben Foster (who played Russell Crowe’s gun-slinging sidekick in 3:10 to Yuma) brings his particular brand of psychotic intensity to the role of junior hit man working in an unholy alliance with his mentor.  The R-rated “red band” trailer is tailor-made for the young males who love this type of buddy R-rated action yarn and this weekend’s performance was well above the expected gross in the $7 million to $9 million range.

At number five with $11.1 million, the so-called “Oscar box office bump” is manifesting itself with Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech this weekend after grabbing 12 Oscar nominations this week including Best Picture, Best Actor and recognition in other numerous high-profile categories.  This set the stage for the film to achieve its highest chart position yet by adding a whopping 877 theaters to the acclaimed film’s run that brought in a king’s ransom and puts it at over $70 in North American revenue by Sunday’s end.

Check out our exclusive movie-themed comic strip from Francesco Marciuliano.  Francesco writes the internationally-syndicated comic strip “Sally Forth” and the webcomic “Medium Large.” He was the head writer for the PBS series “SeeMore’s Playhouse,” for which one of his episodes won two 2007 Daytime Emmys. He currently writes for the Onion News Network.


Notably From Prada to Nada from the newly formed Lionsgate Latin label Pantelion had a solid debut of $1.1 million in just 256 theatres and a per-theatre average of $4,297.  Look for more titles from this newly minted distribution entity.

Overall the industry continues to pale to the year ago marketplace which was led by a staggering 7th weekend Avatar first place finish with a gross of $31.3 million.  This unfortunately means that we will suffer through weekend number twelve of our ongoing down streak at the box office.

Weekend Box Office

Top 10 Movies – For Weekend of January 28, 2011 – Estimates

          Movie                 Weekend         Total

1     The Rite (PG-13)     $15.0 M     $15.0 M

2     No Strings Attached (R)     $13.7 M     $39.7 M

3     The Green Hornet (PG-13)     $11.5 M     $78.8 M

4     The Mechanic (R)     $11.5 M     $11.5 M

5     The King’s Speech (R)     $11.1 M     $72.2 M

6     True Grit (PG-13)     $7.6 M     $148.4 M

7     The Dilemma (PG-13)     $5.5 M     $40.6 M

8     Black Swan (R)     $5.1 M     $90.7 M

9     The Fighter (R)     $4.0 M     $78.4 M

10     Yogi Bear (PG)     $3.2 M     $92.5 M