Hopkins takes 'The Rite' to top of box office
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Anthony Hopkins horror film "The Rite" topped the box office on a weekend notable for the bump many Oscar-nominated films received, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Warner Bros. flick earned $15 million from just under 3,000 theaters. The PG-13, "Exorcist"-influenced movie drew most of its audience from the older-than-25 demographic.
In its 10th week of release, the Weinstein Company's "The King's Speech" earned $11.1 million while adding nearly 900 screens.
Now with a cumulative box-office haul of $72.2 million, the story of King George VI's triumph over his stuttering affliction continues to build momentum as the Oscar favorite for best picture. It led with 12 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, and its director, Tom Hooper, won best director from the Directors Guild on Saturday.
Last week's top film, the Natalie Portman romantic comedy "No Strings Attached," from Paramount, slipped to second with $13.7 million.
The other debut this weekend, CBS Films' action film "The Mechanic," which stars Jason Statham and Ben Foster, took in $11.5 million, tied for third with Sony's updated superhero film "The Green Hornet."
Heavily marketed, "The Rite" sought a PG-13 rating less to attract younger audience members than "not to offend" older fans of the 73-year-old Hopkins, said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros.
Fellman credited the film's success to Hopkins, who remains a draw for moviegoers, especially in scary films that recall his famous performance as Hannibal Lecter in 1991's "The Silence of the Lambs."
"The King's Speech" saw the biggest increase after Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday, jumping 41 percent from its performance last weekend.
The Coen brothers' Western "True Grit" was up four percent in its sixth week, bringing its total to $138 million. "The Fighter," in its eighth week, and Portman's "Black Swan," in its ninth week, had only slight drop-offs from the prior weekend.
Still, it was hard to ignore the rising tide of "The King's Speech," which has usurped David Fincher's "The Social Network" as prognosticators' pick to win best picture at the Academy Awards on Feb. 27. Its star, Colin Firth, is believed to be a shoo-in for best actor.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Rite," $15 million.
2. "No Strings Attached," $13.7 million.
3. "The Green Hornet," $11.5 million.
(tie) "The Mechanic, $11.5 million.
5. "The King's Speech," $11.1 million.
6. "True Grit," $7.6 million.
7. "The Dilemma," $5.5 million.
8. "Black Swan," $5.1 million.
9. "The Fighter," $4.1 million.
10. "Yogi Bear," $3.2 million.
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