“The Rite” possesses weak early 2011 box office

Maybe it’s unfair to compare this year’s January box office to last year’s considering that “Avatar” acted as ideal cushioning for all of 2010’s early films, but “The Rite” taking No. 1 with fewer than $15 million? It’s going to take an impressive February to fully exorcize those demons.

That said, the debuts for both new films, “The Rite” and “The Mechanic,” were not quite as abysmal considering the projections. Not many figured “The Mechanic” to break $10 million, which might mean that Jason Statham has gained a bit more credence since “The Expendables.”

  1. The Rite  – $14.7 M (weekend) … $14.7 M (gross)
  2. No Strings Attached  – $13.4 M … $39.5 M
  3. The Mechanic – $11.4 M … $11.4 M
  4. The Green Hornet  – $11.1 M … $78.4 M
  5. The King’s Speech – $11 M … $72.1 M
  6. True Grit – $7.5 M  … $148.3 M
  7. The Dilemma – $5.6 M … $40.8 M
  8. Black Swan – $5.1 M … $90.7 M
  9. The Fighter – $3.9 M … $78.2 M
  10. Yogi Bear – $3.1 M … $92.5 M

With no competition, “No Strings Attached” managed a strong second weekend falling just 31.8 percent from last weekend’s take. Losses were minimal across the board as a result of neither “Rite” nor “Mechanic” pulling in enough of an audience.

“The King’s Speech” saw 40 percent gains with the addition of 877 new theaters. The film ought to continue to see strong returns leading up to the Oscars thanks to big wins at the Producers, Directors and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Expect the doldrums to continue on a usually poor Super Bowl Weekend and with no appealing films hitting theaters. Unless you find “The Roommate” or “Sanctum,” appealing, in which case I apologize, but not really.


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