Sony's `Takers' Leads U.S. Box Office With $20.5 Million in Ticket Sales

The crime drama “Takers” was the top film in U.S. and Canadian theaters over the weekend, earning $20.5 million for Sony Corp.

The film moved into first place after final Sunday sales numbers were tallied, displacing “The Last Exorcism,” researcher Hollywood.com Box Office said today in an e-mailed statement. “The Last Exorcism” took in $20.4 million.

“Takers” features singer Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen leading a group of bank robbers chased by a veteran detective played by Matt Dillon. “The Last Exorcism,” along with “Takers,” had an unexpectedly strong opening weekend for late August, said Gitesh Pandya, chief executive officer of Box Office Guru.com.

“The end of August is a dumping ground for weak movies that don’t work,” Pandya said. “It shows that there’s still a lot of interest out there in moviegoers to see something different.”

“The Last Exorcism,” from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., was filmed as a mock documentary and doesn’t feature a Hollywood superstar. Rated PG-13, the movie depicts a camera crew assigned to follow a preacher performing his final exorcism before quitting the practice.

“The Expendables,” also from Lions Gate, finished third with $9.5 million after two weeks at No. 1. The film, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, follows a group of mercenaries paid to overthrow a South American dictator. The cast includes Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham and Steve Austin. It has taken in $82 million since opening on Aug. 13.

‘Eat Pray Love’

“Eat Pray Love,” featuring Julia Roberts, dropped to fourth place from third in its third week of release with $6.8 million for Sony Corp. Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote a memoir detailing her divorce and world travels.

“The Other Guys” remained in fifth with $6.3 million. The buddy-cop spoof starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg has earned $99 million for Sony in four weeks.

“Vampires Suck” was sixth with $5.2 million for News Corp.’s Fox studio. The movie parodies the recent vampire phenomenon, specifically Summit Entertainment LLC’s “Twilight” series.

The rereleased “Avatar” had $4 million in sales, finishing in 11th place. The take pushed the movie’s domestic total to $753.8 million. The 3-D film from director James Cameron originally was released in December.

Next Week’s Debuts

Three films debut next week, including the Wednesday opening of George Clooney’s “The American” from NBC Universal’s Focus Features. Warner Bros. will attempt to draw in romantic-comedy fans with “Going the Distance,” starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long,, while Fox’s “Machete” targets the adventure seekers.

Weekend sales for the top 12 films fell 8.5 percent to $100.4 million from $109.8 million a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Year-to-date receipts total $7.53 billion, up 4.1 percent from $7.23 billion. Attendance has fallen 1.5 percent this year.

The following table has figures provided by studios to Los Angeles-based Hollywood.com. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for Aug. 27-29.

                     Rev.             Avg./    Pct.   Total
Movie               (mln) Theaters  Theater    Chg.   (mln)  Wks
================================================================
1 TAKERS             20.5    2,206    9,298     --     20.5    1
2 THE LAST EXORCISM  20.4    2,874    7,087     --     20.4    1
3 THE EXPENDABLES     9.5    3,398    2,804    -44     82.0    3
4 EAT PRAY LOVE       6.8    3,108    2,193    -44     60.5    3
5 THE OTHER GUYS      6.3    3,181    1,976    -38     99.0    4
6 VAMPIRES SUCK       5.2    3,233    1,615    -57     27.8    2
7 INCEPTION           4.9    2,070    2,356    -38    270.5    7
8 NANNY MCPHEE        4.7    2,798    1,685    -44     17.0    2
9 THE SWITCH          4.6    2,017    2,272    -46     14.8    2
10 PIRANHA 3D         4.3    2,491    1,727    -57     18.3    2
11 AVATAR: SPECIAL    4.0      812    4,936     --    753.8    1
12 LOTTERY TICKET     3.9    1,973    1,954    -64     17.3    2


Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $100.4        $109.8      -8.5


Year-to-date Revenue

     2010          2009
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $7,526        $7,230      +4.1


Year-to-date Attendance:     -1.5%



To contact the reporters on this story:
Alex Sherman in New York at 
asherman6@bloomberg.net;
Courtney Dentch in New York at 
cdentch1@bloomberg.net.


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