Exorcist Bedevils Alien's Box Office
The devil took the box office by storm, with Exorcist: The Beginning landing in the top spot with $18.2 million and bumping Alien vs. Predator from last weekend's No. 1 to No. 4, according to studio estimates.
The Seth Green comedy Without a Paddle took the silver medal in second place with $13.7 million, though overall ticket sales for just about every movie this weekend – except those in limited release, such as Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things – were lackluster.
Exorcist: The Beginning is a prequel to the 1973 horror blockbuster The Exorcist, but it had a hell of a time reaching the screen.
Liam Neeson was to star, but he quit after director John Frankenheimer (who has since died) left the project. American Gigolo director Paul Schrader then shot the movie, with leading man Stellan Skarsgard, but the studio shelved that version and director Renny Harlin made a new version, keeping only Skarsgard. Critics were less than impressed.
"You can always count on horror films to do well," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, tells the Associated Press. "There's just this built-in audience base that loves this genre."
The base loves it for the opening, at least. Business for Alien vs. Predator plummeted 67 percent this weekend compared to last, and even Exorcist ticket sales dropped markedly this past Saturday – after obvious poor word of mouth on Friday.
The Top 10 movies at the box office, according to studio estimates, were as follows:
1. Exorcist: The Beginning, $18.2 million
2. Without a Paddle, $13.7 million
3. Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, $13.2 million
4. Alien vs. Predator, $12.5 million
5. Open Water, $11.75 million
6. Collateral, $10.5 million
7. The Bourne Supremacy, $6.6 million
8. The Manchurian Candidate, $4.2 million
9. The Village, $3.7 million
10. Garden State, $3.2 million