Weekend Report: 'Rite' Possesses Top Spot
It was another dull weekend at the box office, though new releases The Rite and The Mechanic weren't dreadful, No Strings Attached held relatively well and several pictures capitalized on their Oscar nominations, led by The King's Speech. Overall business wasn't as off as recent weekends, but it was still down 13 percent from the same period last year, when Avatar reigned again.

The Rite crept into first with $14.8 million on approximately 3,200 screens at 2,985 locations. That was the highest-grossing opening ever for Anthony Hopkins in a top-billed, non-Hannibal-Lecter role, surpassing Fracture, though it was middling for a demonic or exorcism-themed horror thriller, albeit better than The Reaping and Devil. Its marketing centered on Mr. Hopkins getting possessed and included requisite quotes referencing Hannibal Lecter. Distributor Warner Bros.' exit polling indicated that 64 percent of the audience was aged 25 years and older and that there was an even split between genders.

The Mechanic didn't fix much but drew a decent $11.4 million on around 2,900 screens at 2,703 locations. The hit man action movie's start was slightly better than average for a Jason Statham vehicle and improved upon his last one, Crank: High Voltage. While its title seemingly alluded to The Transporter and other Statham fare, Mechanic's a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson movie of the same name, and its advertising took a vigilante angle. Distributor CBS Films' research indicated that 61 percent of the audience was male and that 64 percent was aged 25 years and older.

No Strings Attached was a little clingy in its second date, compared to similar romps. It eased 32 percent to $13.4 million for a $39.5 million tally in ten days. Its percentage drop and gross was comparable to What Happens in Vegas. The Green Hornet also stood its ground reasonably well, dipping 37 percent to $11.2 million for a $78.5 million total in 17 days.

Hot on the heels of scoring 12 Oscar nominations, The King's Speech expanded to 2,557 locations, up 877 from last weekend, and jumped 41 percent to $11.1 million. Its sum grew to $72.2 million in 66 days. Fellow Best Picture nominees Black Swan and The Fighter retracted a touch. Swan was down 13 percent to $5.1 million for a strong $90.7 million tally in 59 days, while Fighter hanged tough with $4 million, off five percent for a $78.3 million haul in 52 days.

Ten-time nominee True Grit was also spurred on a bit, inching up three percent to $7.5 million. The Western's collected $148.3 million in 40 days, and, on Saturday, it surpassed fellow Dec. 22 release Little Fockers's total.

127 Hours also attempted to take advantage of its Picture and Actor nods, expanding nationwide after nearly three months in limited release. Backed by new ads that avoided any harrowing survival drama, instead showing James Franco on a fun adventure, the picture bagged a modest $2.1 million at 916 locations, increasing its total to $13.5 million.

Meanwhile, From Prada to Nada courted Latinos at 256 locations in 21 markets, but the Material Girls-like tale didn't spark mucho interest, grossing $1.1 million. Distributor Lionsgate reported that its audience was 71 percent Latino and 70 percent female.

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Last Weekend:

'No Strings' Ties Up Top Spot

This Timeframe in Past Years:

• 2010 - 'Avatar' Unfazed in Seventh Outing

• 2009 - 'Taken' Captures Super Bowl Weekend

• 2008 - 'Hannah Montana' Claims Concert Record

• 2007 - 'Epic,' 'Aces' Smoke Oscar

• 2006 - 'Big Momma' Jams, 'Nanny' Floats, 'Bubble' Bursts

• 2005 - 'Hide and Seek' Comes Out on Top

Related Chart

Weekend Box Office Results