The Reject ReportThat wacky Anthony Hopkins sure knows how to turn ‘em in. With his broad hijinx and penchant for silly string gimmicks. The devil might have had something to do with it, too, as The Rite opened to number one this weekend. It’s opening wasn’t as big as you might expect, but it did a decent job. With a reported budget of $37 million, it should be fine with its mid-teen debut. That is unless you’re going by Kevin Smith math, in which case, the film is a serious dud. That’s a digression for another time, though. The Rite will do just fine, and Hopkins is sure to make many more stinkers films before his days in films have come to a close. His Hannibal days have long since passed, and you aren’t likely to see many more $100-million films from him beyond any franchise work.

Speaking of franchise or lack thereof, The Mechanic may not be getting a Transporter-esque sequel. The Mechanic opened in the double digits, which is saying something for Statham (his last vehicle, Crank: High Voltage, opened with $6.9 million). With its R rating, the film isn’t likely to have much longevity behind it, either. You can expect The Mechanic to top out somewhere around the $25-million mark, $30 million if the die-hard Tony Goldwyn fanbase gets a whiff he’s actually in the film.

The real shocker this weekend was with the film that has moved itself into the front-running for Best Picture. The King’ Speech, which actually expanded by 877 screens, had a 41.3% increase over last weekend. It is nearing $80 million, quite a triumph for the Weinsteins and Merchant Ivory period makers all around. If the film does push through to winning that Best Picture Oscar you can rest assured it will get to $100 million in domestic sales. Not bad for a director whose last film, The Damned United, topped out at $4 million worldwide.

True Grit, Black Swan, and The Fight also continued their classy dominance. True Grit had a 3.7% increase over last weekend, and the other two had dropoffs of only 13.1% and 2.6% respectively. Clearly the Oscars mean something, and everyone feels the need to see all the Best Picture contendors. AMPAS’ decision to expand the category to 10 films has helped the overall box office tremendously and doesn’t seem like a decision they’ll go back on any time soon.

Yogi Bear is nearing $100 million. I hate you, America.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. The Rite – $15m NEW
  2. No Strings Attached – $13.6m (-30.5%) $39.7m total
  3. The Mechanic – $11.5m NEW
  4. The Green Hornet – $11.5m (-34.9%) $78.8m total
  5. The King’s Speech – $11.1m (+41.3%) $72.2m total
  6. True Grit – $7.6m (+3.7%) $148.3m total
  7. The Dilemma – $5.4m (-39.9%) $40.6m total
  8. Black Swan – $5.1m (-13.1%) $90.7m total
  9. The Fighter – $4m (-2.6%) $78.3m total
  10. Yogi Bear – $3.1m (-17.1%) $92.5m total

$87.9 million is what we’re looking at for the top ten, actually higher than expected. This is surprising given The Rite and The Mechanic didn’t live up to expectations. It’s the Oscar money, folks. It’s making us box office reporters have to put away words like “slump” and “catastrophic” and “dire.” It’s a happier time that makes us all forget it was a year ago this week that Avatar beat out Titanic as the highest domestic grossing film in history. And now I remember that fact, and I want to punch a Na’vi in their blue face for it. (Note: Yes, I just had to look up the word Na’vi to remember where the apostrophe went).

Next week continues the happiness with Sanctum (Somebody important is behind that film. I have to figure out who that is) and The Roommate (Not Single White Female 2) open wide.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

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