For the penultimate weekend of the summer, The Last Exorcism aims to possess first place with an estimated 3,500 screens at 2,874 locations, while Takers busts in on around 2,600 screens at 2,206 locations. Avatar: Special Edition relaunches at 812 locations, including 125 IMAX venues, and Get Low leaps to a near-nationwide 570 locations.
Though relatively unheralded, exorcism (and haunting) movies consistently strike a chord with certain sects of society, and The Last Exorcism is well-primed to capitalize, adding a documentary/found footage angle in the vein of Paranormal Activity, Quarantine and The Fourth Kind. Last Exorcism marks the first expressly exorcism-themed movie since The Exorcism of Emily Rose in 2005, and its marketing has hit the expected exorcism notes. Exorcism of Emily Rose had a big $30.1 million in its early September launch, while Exorcist: The Beginning nabbed $18.1 million in its Aug. 2004 debut. Late August has also been a prime time for other horror movies, including The Final Destination on the same weekend last year.
With the 3D-only release of Avatar: Special Edition, Avatar's lifetime gross will cross the $750 million mark. Though relaunching a movie soon after its home video release tends to yield little business, this Special Edition counters with the addition of nearly nine minutes of new footage, a sizable advertising campaign and by being many people's first chance to see Avatar in 3D since Alice in Wonderland (2010) took over most of its 3D screens nearly six months ago.
In Box Office Mojo's reader polling, 10.8 percent of respondents voted to see The Last Exorcism on its opening weekend. The movie's results had a similar pattern to The Unborn (2009) (but slightly more favorable) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (but with decidedly less interest).