UPDATE: Takers Beats Exorcism in Tight Weekend Race


The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

After last weekend’s dismal showing with no new movie grossing more than $15 million, the last weekend in August rebounded and fought back against the famed “Dog Days of Summer” with two new movies each grossing roughly $21 million, and the weekend winner potentially being too close to call.

MONDAY NOON UPDATE: Sony is claiming the victory for Screen Gems’ Takers based on revised estimates including numbers from Sunday where The Last Exorcism fell behind, dropping 45% on Sunday to Takers‘ 32% and that allowed Takers to win the weekend with $20.6 million to Exorcism‘s $20.4 million. It’s still early and one can expect the numbers to be contested with it being so close, but right now, it looks like Takers has indeed kept Lionsgate from having their first-ever third weekend at #1.

Produced by horror maven Eli Roth (Hostel), the independently-financed The Last Exorcism (Lionsgate) topped Friday with $9.5 million (including highly-publicized Thursday midnight), but quickly tailed off on Saturday to end up with an estimated $21.3 million for the weekend. The dismal “D” CinemaScore was rather telling that critics liked this one more than moviegoers, but that also may have something to do with the marketing campaign that focused on the scares at first and only revealed the faux doc style of the film in the last week. Even so, the movie only cost roughly $1.8 million to make, which means Lionsgate just has to make back their marketing and promotion costs on the movie. That alone puts “Exorcism” among the ranks of low-budget horror hits like The Blair Witch Project, the original Saw and last year’s Paranormal Activity. If the numbers hold, this may also be the first time in Lionsgate history where they’ve held the top spot for three weeks in a row, but being that “Exorcism” only has a $300 thousand lead over the #2 movie, it’s going to be a close one.

After sitting on the shelf for almost a year, the ensemble crime-drama Takers (Sony/Screen Gems), starring Paul Walker, Idris Elba, rapper T.I., Chris Brown, Zoe Saldana, Hayden Christensen and Matt Dillon, exploded out of the gate with its own $21 million in 2,206 theaters, an impressive per-theater average of $9,500 per site. It’s the fourth hit in a row for Screen Gems with producer William Packer following Stomp the Yard, This Christmas and Obsessed–the latter two also starring Idris Elba–proving they have what it takes to get African-American audiences into theaters. With just $300 thousand separating it from The Last Exorcism, there’s a chance it could end up being #1 once the dust settles.

After holding the top spot for two weeks in a row, Sylvester Stallone’s ensemble action flick The Expendables (Lionsgate) dropped to third place with $9.5 million and $82 million grossed after three weeks. Stallone has already been talking about developing a sequel and with that sort of success–it’s likely to become Lionsgate’s second highest-grossing release by Labor Day–there’s little doubt the distributor will back that plan.

Meanwhile, Julia Roberts’ romantic drama Eat Pray Love (Sony) took fourth place with another $7 million and $60.7 million total.

The Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg cop comedy The Other Guys was the first of two movies to maintain their spot in the Top 10, settling into fifth place with $6.6 million and $99.3 million after four weeks in theaters.

Christopher Nolan’s ensemble sci-fi flick Inception (Warner Bros.), headlined by Leonardo DiCaprio, continued its late summer run by moving *UP* two places to seventh with another $5.1 million and $270.7 million grossed domestically since opening seven weeks ago.

Many of last week’s new movies had large drop-offs with the Friedberg and Seltzer spoof comedy Vampires Suck (20th Century Fox) dropping from second to sixth place with $5.3 million, off 57% from its opening weekend, with a ten-day gross of $27.9 million. On the other hand, Emma Thompson’s Nanny McPhee Returns (Universal) remained in eighth place with $4.7 million, down 44% from its opening weekend, with a gross of $17 million in ten days.

Jennifer Aniston’s romantic comedy The Switch (Miramax) was down a similar percentage, ending up with just under $4.7 million to take ninth place, followed by the horror remake Piranha 3D (Dimension Films) with $4.3 million, down 57% from last week.

Though it opened in fourth place last week, the Ice Cube-produced Lottery Ticket (Warner Bros.) dropped right out of the Top 10 to take 11th place with $4 million, down a whopping 62% from its opening weekend. It has grossed $17.4 million after ten days, which is more than it cost to make.

James Cameron’s Avatar: Special Edition was re-released into 812 IMAX and Digital 3D theaters and it brought in $4 million domestically to take twelfth place and push its total to $753.8 million. Overseas the re-release earned $4.3 million, pushing the international total past the $2 billion mark.

Even with two successful films, the Top 10 was down roughly 15% from the last weekend of August 2009 where New Line’s The Final Destination topped the box office with $27.4 million thanks to the added money brought in by 3D ticket prices.

The first part of the French crime drama Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Music Box Films), starring Vincent Cassel, was released into 28 theaters in select cities where it brought in roughly $150 thousand.

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.