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Thursday, December 7, 2023

New ‘Exorcist’ film possesses box office with spine-tingling success

Fifty years after the original, newly released The Exorcist: Believer topped the North American box office this weekend with an estimated $27.2 million in ticket sales, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.

Like the original, Believer features possessed victims convulsing, covered in sores, and speaking in tongues. It also has a decidedly interfaith exorcism. Leslie Odom Jr. and Ann Dowd star, with an appearance by Ellen Burstyn from the 1973 original.

Lidya Jewett (left) and Olivia Marcum in a scene from ‘The Exorcist: Believer’

Believer was to have opened on Friday the 13th, but the studio moved up its release to avoid conflicting with the release that day of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, a concert film certain to generate big numbers, Variety reported.

Last weekend’s box office leader, Paramount’s family-friendly Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie, slipped slightly to second, at $11.8 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period.

In third, also down one spot, is Lionsgate’s horror flick Saw X, at $8.2 million. This latest in the Saw series, again with Tobin Bell as the infamous Jigsaw, has received strongly positive reviews.

The fourth spot, down from third, went to 20th Century sci-fi thriller The Creator, at $6.1 million. John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, and Allison Janney play humans in a world at war with artificial intelligence.

Holding steady in fifth was Fathom Events’ faith-based movie The Blind, at $3.1 million. It portrays the real-life struggles of swamp-dwelling reality TV star Phil Robertson with addiction and romance.

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