Weekend Box Office: ‘Rite’ = Might

This weekend only offered up a pair of junky new genre movies to entice multiplex audiences to leave their snow-besieged homes. However, with the Oscar nominations announced on Tuesday morning, the nominated films did get a noticeable bump. Besides that, those mid-winter doldrums are in full effect.

The weekend’s #1 movie was the Warner Bros. exorcism thriller ‘The Rite‘, which handily took the top spot with $15 million. Even though critics largely dismissed the religion-tinged picture (which stars Anthony Hopkins as an exorcist who himself becomes possessed), audiences were more forgiving. I didn’t get a chance to see the movie yet, but it looks like slick-enough popcorn. I can only hope that it plumbs more thematic depth than the intriguing-but-ultimately-unsatisfying ‘The Last Exorcism‘, which was released a few months ago.

No Strings Attached‘, last weekend’s top film, dipped only around 30% and held strong for #2. Is it Natalie Portman fever that explains this? Or the fact that adult couples occasionally like seeing R-rated romantic comedies? Really, a week after seeing the film, I still can’t figure out what the appeal is. It’s not funny and it’s not sexy. It’s just… blah. Please, illuminate the appeal in the comments section!

The Mechanic‘, which was the other biggish movie to open this weekend, came in at #4 with $11.5 million. This is yet another flop from CBS Films, which also graced us with the Dwayne Johnson revenge flick ‘Faster’ (didn’t see it) and the Jennifer Lopez fertility farce ‘The Back-Up Plan‘ (had to review it for the main site; it’s miserable). I’ve heard from a few people that this remake of the Charles Bronson actioner is actually pretty slick and fun, and I can get behind that, for sure. But I understand that average Americans don’t really go for mean-spirited revenge films in the same way I do… Oh well.

The King’s Speech‘, riding high with 12 Oscar nominations (God help me), clocked in at the #5 position with another $11.5 million. The similarly prestigious nominees ‘True Grit‘ (#6, $7.6 million), ‘Black Swan‘ (#8, $5.1 million) and ‘The Fighter‘ (#9, $4 million) also hung tough in the Top 10. And then there’s ‘Yogi Bear‘, which also remained in the Top 10 (#10, $3.1 million). Who has seen ‘Yogi Bear’ and who is keeping his slop in the Top 10? I demand answers!

The Top 10:

01 ‘The Rite’ (Warner Bros) – $15 million

02 ‘No Strings Attached’ (Paramount) – $13.6 million

03 ‘The Green Hornet’ (Sony) – $11.5 million

04 ‘The Mechanic’ (CBS Films) – $11.5 million

05 ‘The King’s Speech’ (Weinstein Company) – $11.1 million

06 ‘True Grit’ (Paramount) – $7.6 million

07 ‘The Dilemma’ (Universal) – $5.4 million

08 ‘Black Swan’ (Fox) – $5.1 million

09 ‘The Fighter’ (Paramount) – $4 million

10 ‘Yogi Bear’ (Warner Bros) – $3.1 million


  1. lordbowler

    Bad last two weeks for movies…

    I just saw The Green Hornet, finally. Should’ve saved my money for Blu-Ray. It had potential, squandered by Seth Rogen.

    No interest in seeing anything else playing except True Grit.

    Looking forward to Sanctum on Feb 4th though, could be good…

  2. Drew, I’m as confused as you are on the ‘No Strings Attached’ front. Even on paper the Portman/Kutcher combo doesn’t sound good.

    Then again, I’ve gone from liking Portman (Mars Attacks and back) to disliking her (Star Wars) to just plain avoiding her. I don’t know what it is, but when I see her on screen I’m suddenly aware that I’m watching a movie. She’s just so… ugh.

    Despite that, I still have high hopes for ‘Thor’ even though I probably shouldn’t.

  3. Jane Morgan

    ‘No Strings Attached’ can only be explained if you look at a cross section of the ‘Star Wars’ audience.

    There remains a sizable faction of dorks who want to have sex with Natalie Portman because in the second prequel her nipples were pointy.

    And, said dorks just so happen to have short wives that will engorge themselves on any length of rom-com junk as long as the trailer is delicious.

    Throw in an R rating, and you have a perfect storm.

    Natalie Portman is well on her way to becoming Sandra Bullock 2.

    • Ah, but Portman’s nipples were only visible through her white jumpsuit in the theatrical release. George Lucas had them CG erased for DVD. (Sad, but true.) 🙂

      • Andrew


        You’re kidding right? You can’t be serious! Are you? Is this something that actually factually happened?

        • Yup, it’s for reals. I can personally testify that in the theatrical release, the shapes of Portman’s nipples were clearly visible through her white jumpsuit. Lucas had them digitally erased for the DVD.

          • It’s a little different, Jane. You were never supposed to be able to see Laura Harring’s nether regions in Mulholland Drive. The scene was photographed so that portion of the frame would be masked by shadows. Nothing was visible there in theaters.

            The problem was that home video would allow pervy viewers to pause the scene and crank up the brightness. Which is of course exactly what happened the day the DVD came out.

            The digital censorship that Lynch applied to the scene was encoded as below-black information and should not be noticeable at proper display calibration.

          • Jane Morgan

            Considering the amount of nudity and lesbian sex, wouldn’t 100% of the ‘Mulholland Drive’ audience fall under the “pervy” category?

            Have you seen the full-frontal blur?

            My grandma could have photoshopped it better. If you’re going to censor an art film, at least do a classy job.

            I’m offended on purely an aesthetic level.

          • There isn’t any nudity at all in Mulholland Drive until that scene. The first 90 minutes were shot as a TV pilot. Laura Harring agreed to do the T&A, but actually had it written into her contract that there could be no visible genital nudity.

            If you can see the black blur, your Brightness is set too high.

          • Jane Morgan

            ‘Mulholland Drive’ has 4-star Hall Of Fame Nudity, as rated by Mr. Skin.

            I only saw it once, in the theater, with a girlfriend. I guess I remember it as being more naked lesbian fantastic than it mathematically is.

            My blackness is always set too high. I don’t have a Kuro.