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January 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

There are probably enough moviegoers eager to watch Anthony Hopkins exorcising demons and succumbing to them to drive New Line’s The Rite to the top of the box office this weekend with about $15-20 million. The horror film is expected to beat out CBS Films’ action flick The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham, which is likely to earn around $8-10 million. But it also faces competition from The Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech, which is expanding to 2,553 theaters after grabbing twelve Oscar nominations earlier in the week. Fox Searchlight’s 127 Hours, which garnered six nominations, is going from 69 theaters to 916. The film, starring James Franco, has earned only $11.3 million since it was released in November. Also opening this weekend in limited release is Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Biutiful, which is up for an Oscar in the foreign-language category. Its star, Javier Bardem, is nominated in the actor category for his performance in the film.

UPDATE: As predicted, The Rite did an all-right $5.1 million to top the box office on Friday, followed by last week’s winner No Strings Attached with about $4.4 million. The Mechanic came in third with $3.5 million.