1. The Last Exorcism - $21.3M - $21.3M
2. Takers - $21M - $21M
3. The Expendables - $9.5M - $82M
4. Eat Pray Love - $7M - $60.7M
5. The Other Guys - $6.6M - $99.3M
6. Vampires Suck - $5.3M - $27.9M
7. Inception - $5.1M - $270.7M
8. Nanny McPhee Returns - $4.7M - $17M
9. The Switch - $4.6M - $16.4M
10. Piranha 3D - $4.3M - $18.2M
A slow weekend can often allow a couple of underdogs to break out and see some decent box office hauls. This weekend brings us two such characters. Neither The Last Exorcism or Takers were expected to set the world on fire and given the rep a late August release date generally carries, no one would have been surprised if both films had sank without a trace.
Our number one film this weekend is the little hyped horror/thriller The Last Exorcism. Shown at the SXSW and Sundance festivals, the film gained some early word of mouth thanks to it's faux-documentary shooting style and subject matter. The film follows an evangelical minister on what will be his last exorcism as he ventures into Louisiana to answer the call of a farmer who claims his daughter has succumbed to the devil. Reviews were very positive, especially given the genre, and with Piranha 3D having already done its best (or worst) the scene was set for a low-teens opening figure. But then....
Friday saw The Last Exorcism score an impressive $9M, which pretty much covers its minuscule $2M budget along with print and ad costs. The final figure of $21.3M for the weekend probably contains around 50% pure profit. While the film will fall hard next weekend, as is the norm for horror, it'll end up being a very profitable purchase for Lionsgate.
Takers wasn't quite so cheap, weighing in at around $20M, but it's opening frame is an excellent start for the equally little hyped 'Heat' style thriller. With a big cast, including Paul Walker, Matt Dillion, Idris Elba and Hayden Christensen, the film concerns a team of crack thieves who are pulling 'one last job'. Unfortunately they'd not planned on Dillion's hard nosed detective showing up along with a potential double cross. Screen Gems having being playing up the cast angle quite a bit and it seems to have paid off handsomely. Even a badly photo-shopped poster for the film hadn't managed to put people off.
Friday it was around $2M behind The Last Exorcism but managed to close the gap come the end of play on Sunday. In fact, early studio estimates had Sony and Lionsgate arguing over who'd actually won the weekend. Once actuals are out tomorrow evening there's still a slim chance that Takers could win the weekend. While this one won't hang around for long (expect a big fall both in position and percentage next weekend), it'll turn a tidy profit from its great opening frame.
Having managed two weekends at the top spot, The Expendables drops to third with a percentage fall of 44%. The ensemble action flick has pretty much recouped it's production budget at this stage and could easily see another $100M+ on the international market. Indeed, $100M domestically still isn't out of the question. These past few days has seen Stallone talking up a sequel - expect it to be fast tracked for late 2011/early 2012.
Speaking of star power, Julia Roberts Eat Pray Love has recouped its production budget of $60M. As the only film in the top ten aimed directly at the female demographic, Eat Pray Love could easily see another twenty or so million as it continues to work well as alternate programming. The last time a film with Roberts as the primary star made more than $60M was 2003's Mona Lisa Smile.
Like Eat Pray Love, The Others Guys has no direct competition in terms of comedy. Down 35% in its fourth weekend on release, the Will Ferrell comedy is just shy of its $100M production budget and still has the international market awaiting release.
Vampires Suck drops a few places, down 56% on last weekend. The spoof has now made nearly $28M and covered it's production budget to the tune of $8M. On the side of success, Inception is now approaching $650M in terms of total global box office. While it's pretty much done at this point, it must rank as one of the most successful original properties in recent box office history.
With schools back in, Nanny McPhee hasn't had much of a chance to shine. While internationally the film has kicked up a storm, it'll end it's domestic run with around $28M. Unfortunately for The Switch, it has no international tally to back it up and is looking at its last weekend in the top ten. That said, the comedy faired better than Lottery Ticket, which was in and out of the chart in just seven days.
Even with some amazing word of mouth, Piranha 3D didn't see a great second weekend after it's somewhat disappointing start. With three new releases due next week it's unlikely to see another top ten placing but this is one film that'll be huge on DVD. Worry not, a sequel has already been greenlit.
Outside of the top ten, the extended version of Avatar made $4M from around 830 locations.