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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ducking Taylor Swift, ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ tops box office

From left, Lidya Jewett and Olivia Marcum in "The Exorcist: Believer." (Universal Pictures/TNS)  (Universal Pictures/TNS/TNS)
By Wendy Leestaff Los Angeles Times

“The Exorcist: Believer” topped the domestic box office, earning $27.2 million domestically on its opening weekend, according to data measurement firm Comscore.

The movie was among four films that made it onto the top 10 in the horror category, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. The second and third spots were taken by animated film “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie” and horror flick “Saw X,” grossing $11.8 million and $8.2 million, respectively. “A Haunting in Venice” finished sixth with $2.7 million and “The Nun II” added $2.6 million for seventh place.

“For ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ to chalk up a No. 1 debut in this marketplace is actually pretty impressive, given the number of horror movies that have been released over the past few weeks and over the past few months,” Dergarabedian said. “It’s just a genre that audiences seemingly have a limitless appetite for.”

The horror film had been scheduled to be released on Friday the 13th – a significant day for horror fans – but was moved in light of the highly anticipated “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” movie, as 13 is a lucky number for the music artist. The popularity of Swift was not something that “The Exorcist: Believer” would be able to shake off to hold onto the top domestic box office spot.

“Look what you made me do,” Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse, posted on X, formerly Twitter on Aug. 31. “The Exorcist: Believer moves to 10/6/23 #TaylorWins.”

Blumhouse co-produced on “The Exorcist: Believer” and Blum told the Times more installments are planned. The next film in the franchise, “The Exorcist: Deceiver” will be released in 2025.

Universal Pictures and Peacock purchased the rights for a new “The Exorcist” trilogy for more than $400 million, according to the New York Times in 2021. News outlet Deadline is reporting that “The Exorcist: Believer” had a production cost of $30 million.

The movie had a global opening of about $45.1 million, according to Comscore.

The film has had mixed reviews, with a 23% score from critics and a 57% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Film Critic Katie Walsh called the film “an exhausting affair” that “grows tiresome almost immediately.”

“Keep those expectations planted firmly in the gutter because after this encounter, you’ll likely be left thinking, ‘Can‘t Pazuzu just give it a rest?’” Walsh wrote.

Dergarabedian said it’s too early to say how well the film will perform in the long run.

“I think we have to reserve judgment on the earnings potential for the whole trilogy,” he said. “Expectations are often overblown due to a massive brand, creating that kind of interest in how a film like this might perform.”