Hopkins, Statham, King George box office draws

Updated: 2011-01-28 15:12


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LOS ANGELES  – Theater marquees will be crowded this weekend as commercial titles "The Rite" and "The Mechanic" enter the market, and Oscar darlings "The King's Speech" and "127 Hours" capitalize on their nominations.

"The Rite," a horror picture starring Anthony Hopkins as a priest who specializes in exorcisms, should win the weekend and gross in the mid- to high-teen millions.

The New Line Cinema release should play heavily to Catholic audiences, especially those who are Hispanics. Interest among younger women is softer than expected as the film skews to older moviegoers.

A remake of "The Mechanic," with British action hero Jason Statham standing in for Charles Bronson, should gross in the high single digits or even low teens, buoyed by interest from male youngsters.

The CBS Films release could find itself in a race for No. 2 with "King's Speech," which picked up a leading 12 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, and will expand to 2,553 theaters from 1,680. The Weinstein Co. release enjoyed a hearty boost in midweek business, and finished Wednesday with a domestic haul of $60 million.

Fox Searchlight is relaunching underperformer "127 Hours" in about 600 theaters. The James Franco drama, which earned six nominations, has grossed $11.3 million since early November.

Sony Pictures Classics is taking the same approach with the documentary "Inside Job," which opened in October. The film, which has grossed about $3.7 million, boosts its theater count to 250 from 23 after landing a nomination for best documentary.

Roadside Attractions waited until now to officially open Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful," for which Javier Bardem picked up an acting nomination. It will play on 57 screens in 27 markets, a bold push for a foreign-language film.


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