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Turns out The Rite couldn’t exorcise the demons that have been plaguing the box office for the past couple months. Snow, unremarkable offerings, and a general lack of Avatar have kept January’s grosses well below those of 2010, and based on Friday’s receipts, this weekend will likely be no different. Theaters will miss the $109.8 million mark hit this week last year, as nothing is poised to top out over $20 million. The Anthony Hopkins horror film was really the sole new offering that had a chance, and it only managed to scare up a respectable but not overwhelming $5.3 million yesterday in 2,985 theaters.

In the runner-up spot, No Strings Attached lost ground to the tune of around 40 percent, pulling in $4.3 million compared to the $7.3 million of its first day of release. Appropriately for a movie called The Mechanic, Jason Statham’s latest action flick has taken an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach, and the formula of reliability has paid off decently. The guns-blazing remake pulled in better-than-expected audiences, and while nothing in The Mechanic‘s toolbox can repair the slow overall box office, its $3.6 million has it aiming to exceed both CBS Films’ predictions and the $6.9 million opening weekend of Statham’s last lead-starrer, Crank 2: High Voltage.

Seth Rogen’s unconventional superhero movie, The Green Hornet, has by now lost a lot of its sting as it settles, barely, into fourth place with $2.9 million, while an expansion and a whopping 12 Academy Award nominations allowed The King’s Speech to lend some prestige to Friday’s Top 5 with $2.8 million. In limited release, the Latino-marketed From Prada to Nada performed somewhere right in the middle of Prada and nada with $311,000 in 256 theaters.

1. The Rite — $5.3 mil

2. No Strings Attached — $4.3 mil

3. The Mechanic — $3.6 mil

4. The Green Hornet — $2.9 mil

5. The King’s Speech — $2.8 mil

Check in tomorrow for the full weekend report and to see how many more “Rite = Right” puns I can jam into a post.

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