The Reject ReportJust slightly different than the rites of spring. There’s less sun, less green on the trees, and a whole lot more Tony Hopkins flipping out at the sight of holy water. It’s okay, though. He’s not alone. Jason Statham is doing his best Charles Bronson impression for the counter-programming. Okay. He’s not doing a Bronson impression at all, but he is starring in the remake of The Mechanic. He’s also brought along Ben Foster, which may only add to the strangeness of it all. Did I say “may”, because I meant “absolutely.” It’s what’s in store for the wide releases this weekend, so let’s get to that analysis.

BIG HITTERS

You like exorcism movies, right, America? Good, because the trend doesn’t seem to want to die. With the success of films like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcism, and The Three Exorcisms of Melquiades Estrada (the greatest demonic western never produced), demons are sure to be cast out in movie after movie. With The Rite, producers thought it would be a good idea to bring Hannibal Lecter into the mix, but let’s not get too many box office hopes in high spirits. For one thing, horror films such as The Rite don’t exactly open brilliantly. Emily Rose hit just at the right time, and its $30-million opening won’t be matched any time soon.

It isn’t like Hopkins is bringing in any numbers for the film. No, The Rite is being sold on its horror and its PG-13 rating. That alone may give it a boost over films like The Legion, but don’t expect much of a boost. The Rite will fall in line somewhere similar to The Unborn, another January released horror movie with a PG-13 rating. That would be right at the cusp of $20 million but definitely not over it.

Try to figure out the plot of The Rite in this trailer. Just try. Is Hopkins the villain? Is he just a weird old man with a shaky hand? Is that Rutger Hauer? Find out right here:

Speaking of not great for box office, did you know Jason Statham only has one film that has opened to more than $20 million? That was The Expendables. It isn’t like he sold that film all by his bald, ass-kicking self. Outside of The Expendables, he has only three films that opened to more than $15 million. Those were The One (Jet Li film), The Italian Job (ensemble film with Mark Wahlberg in the lead), and Transporter 2 (sequel to a mildly successful film). The Mechanic has a bit of name recognition behind it. Fans of the original will either be curious to see how the new one matches up or they’ll be completely opposed to seeing it. Either way, it doesn’t look like much success is in The Mechanic‘s future. It’ll probably end up in the low $10-million range. That will promptly lead Statham to sign up for Transporter 4: I’m Still Bald And I Can Still Demolish Your Clavicle.

Hey, it’s got Ben Foster, and you can see the two of them doing battle with that dude from Ghost and causing massive amounts of property damage in The Mechanic trailer:

FAMILIARITIES

The Oscar nominations were announced this week. With that comes the continuance of the Oscar hopefuls raking in the paper gold. No Strings Attached and The Green Hornet may be fighting for the #3 and #4 spots, but there are a smattering of films that will be doing just fine all on their own. The King’s Speech, True Grit, Black Swan, and The Fighter have been steadily generating tons of coinage for their respective distributors. That is absolutely going to continue this weekend. Each of them will have a minimal amount of drop-off from last weekend. Even 127 Hours is getting opened up to 400 more screens, but that probably won’t give it enough to break onto the charts.

LITTLE OPENERS

On the limited side of things, Javier Bardem can’t spell. Actually, I’m not sure if he’s the culprit behind the title Biutiful, but who cares? The guy is friggin’ Javier Bardem. He invites women to Oviedo for a weekend of eating well, drinking wine, and making love, and they say yes. He looks a bit more melancholy than usual in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s new film. That isn’t stopping him from being a stunning man. Biutiful opens on 50 screen in select cities.

Why is it spelled Biutiful? You got me, and the answer probably isn’t in this trailer. No matter. Watch it. There might be clues hidden somewhere in Bardem’s immaculate hair:

Also opening in limited release are Kaboom opening in L.A., Ip Man 2 opening on 20 screens, and From Prada to Nada opening on 250 screens in select cities.

Here’s how the top 10 is shaping up this weekend:

  1. The Rite – $19.5m NEW
  2. The Mechanic – $12.4m NEW
  3. No Strings Attached – $10.6m (-45.7%)
  4. The Green Hornet – $9.8m (-44.2%)
  5. The King’s Speech – $7.1m (-8%)
  6. True Grit – $5.7m (-21%)
  7. Black Swan – $4.9m (-15.5%)
  8. The Dilemma – $4.3m (-52%)
  9. The Fighter – $3.4m (-16%)
  10. Little Fockers – $2.3m (-44.3%)

All in all, we’re looking at an $80-million weekend. Down and down and down we go into the spiraling box office divot of late January. The Oscar nominated films might give that number a bump. Some of them may actually be up from last weekend when all is said and done. They won’t be getting much help from the new films, though. Unless the power of Christ compels moviegoers to watch another exorcism movie.

We’ll be back on Sunday night to go over the numbers.

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