The Rite technically opened in the top spot at the box office this week, though No Strings Attached held well enough that it nearly retained first place. The week's other new movie The Mechanic had an average Jason Statham debut, while The King's Speech expanded once again and had its highest-grossing week yet. Despite snowstorms dominating a large portion of the country, overall business bounced back a bit: while every week so far this year has been down at least 25 percent from 2010, this week declined a comparatively light 15 percent.
The Rite conjured $18.1 million in seven days. Among recent supernatural horror movies, that was an improvement over Devil and The Uninvited but down from Legion and The Unborn. For the Monday-to-Thursday period, the Anthony Hopkins vehicle actually ranked third, grossing $3.3 million versus No Strings Attached's $3.9 million and King's Speech's $3.6 million, and it's poised to lose steam quickly moving forward.
No Strings Attached eased 34 percent to $17.3 million and topped the box office from Tuesday to Thursday. That decline was a significant improvement over Ashton Kutcher's last movie, Killers, though it was a tad worse than his 2008 romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas. With $43.4 million in 14 days, No Strings Attached is also tracking a bit behind Vegas's gross, and that picture ultimately wound up with just north of $80 million.
The Mechanic edged out The King's Speech by less than $10,000 to take third place with $14.7 million. That's a significant improvement over Jason Statham's last solo effort, Crank: High Voltage, though otherwise it was about middle-of-the-road for him.
The King's Speech was up 26 percent to $14.7 million, thanks to its 12 Oscar nominations and corresponding marketing push and expansion from 1,680 to 2,557 theaters. While it finished in fourth place for the full week, it held second place from Monday to Thursday. The Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush period drama has now earned $75.8 million, and looks poised to clear $100 million prior to the Feb. 27 Academy Awards ceremony.
The Green Hornet rounded out the Top Five this week with an unusually impressive showing. The Seth Rogen action comedy dropped 37 percent to $13.8 million to bring its three-week total to $81.1 million. If it can keep up its pace, it should pass $100 million, though it's losing most of its IMAX theaters to Sanctum this weekend.
True Grit extended its astonishing run by easing just seven percent to $9.5 million. On Thursday, it became only the second Western ever to cross the $150 million mark. If it's able to sustain this momentum, it has a chance at topping Dances with Wolves ($184.2 million) to become the highest-grossing Western ever (though it will still lag behind Dances, Unforgiven, Maverick and others in attendance).
After 12 weeks in limited release, distributor Fox Searchlight finally deemed 127 Hours worthy of a nationwide expansion after it scored six Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, the Danny Boyle-James Franco survival drama could only muster $2.96 million at 916 locations to bring its disappointing total to $14.3 million.