Aliens, predators and teen movies are no match for that other massive evil force: Satan.
The big red guy took the top spot in the box-office top 10 this week with his starring role in “Exorcist: The Beginning,” helping to bring in more than $18.1 million in ticket sales, according to early estimates.
The prequel to the 1973 original, which takes place years before Regan’s head-spinning, projectile-vomiting episodes, finds Lankester Merrin on sabbatical from the priesthood in a remote region of Kenya after World War II. During an archaeological dig at a buried Byzantine church, Merrin unearths a huge evil force which proceeds to ravage the village and beyond.
Meanwhile, the second largest group of moviegoers got their thrills and chills watching Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard cuddle in a cave in the comedy “Without a Paddle.” The flick, which centers on the trio’s search for treasure in the wilds of Washington state, landed at #2 with $13.7 million.
The still-younger set helped “Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement” stay high on the top 10 again. With more than $13.1 million in ticket sales, the flick drops just one notch to #3.
“Alien Vs. Predator,” however, fell prey to the massive appeal of Beelzebub, tumbling three spots to #4 with $12.5 million.
The big surprise this week was the thriller pic “Open Water,” which soared 12 spots to #5 with more than $11.7 million in ticket sales. Filmed on set (read: in the ocean) with live sharks, the flick, based on a true story, centers on a couple left in the middle of the ocean by their resort’s boat during a scuba-diving excursion.
The star power of Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx and Jada Pinkett Smith helped “Collateral” place at #3 last week, but couldn’t keep it from falling three spots to #6 this time around, with a take of $10.5 million.
Rounding out the top 10 are “The Bourne Supremacy,” which slides two spots to #7 with $6.6 million; “The Manchurian Candidate,” which drops a notch to #8 with $4.2 million; “The Village,” which falls three spots to #9 with more than $3.6 million; and “Garden State,” which makes its debut in the top 10 this week, climbing up from #13 to #10 with $3.2 million.
Overall, ticket sales were up from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for “Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” to make an appearance on the top 10. Also opening next week is Vincent Gallo’s “The Brown Bunny.”
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