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Takers beats Last Exorcism in close race for 1st ($20.5M to $20.4M); Avatar: Special Edition opens with $4.0M [UPDATED]

Update: Article updated with box office actuals.

It was a very close race for #1 this weekend, but Takers opened with a better than expected $20.512 million for the weekend. The Last Exorcism followed in a close second place with $20.367 million.

Takers — opening in 668 fewer theaters — has the better average theater take of $9,298 (2,206 theaters) vs. $7,087 (2,874). Lionsgate and Sony Screen Gems should be thrilled with their respective films’ performance. ‘TLE’ was produced on a budget of just $1.8M while Takers comes in with a budget of $20 million. TLE won Friday, but fell to second place on both Saturday and Sunday (Note: The Sunday estimates had TLE winning the weekend $21.3M to $21.0M, but the finals showed Sunday projections were off for both films). Here’s the daily breakdown for both films:


    • Friday [#2]: $7.476 million
    • Saturday [#1]: $7.75 million (+3.7%)
    • Sunday [#1]: $5.286M (-31.8%)
    • Friday [#1]: $9.407 million
    • Saturday [#2]: $7.051 million (-25.0%)
    • Sunday [#2]: $3.909M (-44.6%)

The other new release this weekend was Avatar: Special Edition. Playing in only 812 theaters — all of which were 3D or 3D IMAX — the theatrical re-release grossed $4.008 million to push Avatar‘s total domestic cume past $750M to $753.774 million. Although the number comes in at the middle end of expectations, this is still a very solid debut for re-release.

And this is why: When Avatar lost a significant portion of its 3D screens in March to make room for the debut of Alice in Wonderland, it had a per theater average that weekend (March 5-7) of $3,753 (taking in $8.118M from 2,163 theaters). This weekend’s performance will out-do that weekend in per theater average ($4,936/theater). That suggests that there’s still a market for the film on the big-screen and it probably would have done even better had Fox managed to get it into more theaters. Avatar: Special Edition is currently projected to open in 12th place for the weekend, but there’s a shot at breaking into the top 10 depending on the holds of current #10 – Piranha 3D ($4.308M / $18.272M cume) and current #11 – Lottery Ticket ($4.01M / $17.44M cume).

Rounding out the top five was The Expendables (#3 – $9.528M / $82.04M cume), Eat Pray Love (#4 – $6.816M / $60.531M) and The Other Guys (#5 – $6.286M / $99.018M cume).

Source: Box Office Mojo