New Line/Warner Bros.’ Anthony Hopkins horror-exorcism pic The Rite topped the box office Friday, grossing an estimated $5.3 million from 3,022 theaters.
The bad news: It was another soft day overall at the domestic box office, which could have been impacted by the remnants of the snowstorm on the East Coast. Distributors are hopeful theater traffic will rebound on Saturday and Sunday.
Boston and Philadelphia, for example, turned in lower-than-expected numbers for The Rite, which is a natural fit for Catholic markets. As expected, The Rite did especially well with Hispanic audiences.
The Rite should win the weekend, but Paramount’s No Strings Attached could outpace it. Whatever the case, it’s virtually impossible now for Rite to match last year’s $17.2 million opening for Edge of Darkness, also a Warner Bros. film.
No Strings -- Natalie Portman’s second film in the top 10 after Black Swan -- grossed an estimated $4.4 million from 2,985 locations. Film held well in its second Friday, declining 40%. Cume is $30.4 million.
CBS Films’ The Mechanic, Jason Statham’s latest outing, opened to an estimated $3.6 million from 2,703 theaters to come in No. 3 for the day. Action pic will likely end the weekend at No. 4 or No. 5, but is still on pace to meet CBS Films’ expectations.
Among award frontrunners looking for a bump from Oscar nominations, the Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech ended Friday in a close race with Sony holdover The Green Hornet.
Speech, making a major expansion in upping its theater count to 2,557 locations, grossed an estimated $2.8 million for a cume of $63.9 million. The historical drama came in No. 5, while Green Hornet landed at No. 4 in grossing an estimated $2.9 million from 3,524 locations for a cume of $70.2 million.
Speech, up 31% from the previous weekend thanks to more theaters, should land higher on the box office chart by Sunday.
Other awards frontrunners also saw a boost. Paramount’s True Grit, receiving the second most Oscar noms after Speech, fell only 9% from the previous Friday, grossing an estimated $1.9 million from 3,120 theaters for a cume of $142.7 million. Film placed No. 6 for the day.
Coming in No. 8 was Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan, down only 21% from the previous Friday in grossing an estimated $1.4 million from 2,315 theaters for a cume of $87 million.
Paramount’s The Fighter placed No. 9, declining a narrow 18% from the previous Friday to an estimated $1 million from 1,914 theaters. Cume is $75.3 million.
Searchlight used Oscar nominations to aggressively relaunch 127 Hours, expanding the film from roughly 70 theaters to 916 on Friday. The film came in No. 12, grossing an estimated $600,000 for a cume of $12 million.