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''Exorcism'' comes out smelling like ''Rose'''s

”Exorcism” comes out smelling like ”Rose”’s. The horror flick battled box office demons ”40 Year-Old Virgin” and ”Transporter 2,” and won

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Jennifer Carpenter, The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Exorcism of Emily Rose: Diyah Pera

Who says the weekend after Labor Day is the dead zone at the box office? Fright fans flocked to The Exorcism of Emily Rose and gave the horror flick a phenomenal $30.2 million opening, according to studio estimates.

For young audience members, the film’s freaky ad campaign was the biggest draw, while for older moviegoers, the presence of two Oscar-nominated lead actors (Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson) likely did the trick. It all resulted in the third-biggest September debut of all time, behind Sweet Home Alabama ($35.6 million) and Rush Hour ($33 million).

Second place went again to The 40 Year-Old Virgin, which slipped 41 percent to $7.9 million, while The Transporter 2 plummeted 57 percent in its second weekend to $7.2 million. And the critically-acclaimed thriller The Constant Gardener saw a bigger-than-expected drop of 44 percent to $4.9 million in its second weekend.

But at least Gardener fared better than the Samuel L. Jackson/Eugene Levy comedy The Man, which opened with a horrendous $4 million in the face of wildly mixed reviews, some of which hailed Jackson and Levy as an instant-classic comedy duo, others which said there wasn’t a laugh to be found for almost 90 minutes. Looks like audiences didn’t care to find out which opinion was more accurate.