As expected, Reese Witherspoon’s Just Like Heaven claimed the top spot at the box office this weekend. But it was a tighter race than anyone expected.
Heaven premiered with $16.5 million, according to studio estimates, a relatively low showing for Witherspoon, whose last three ultra-wide releases — the two Legally Blonde films and Sweet Home Alabama — opened between $20 and $35 million.
Meanwhile, last week’s surprise hit, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, fell a decent 49 percent in its second weekend to $15.3 million, placing it just over a million bucks behind Heaven. After 10 days, Exorcism has scared up $52 million.
Nicolas Cage’s weapons-dealer drama Lord of War managed an okay $9.2 million in its first weekend, while The 40 Year-Old Virgin saw another tiny 24 percent drop to $5.8 million, bringing its total to a strong $90.6 million. And the teen thriller Cry Wolf performed predictably, placing fifth with $4.6 million. It’s hard to be a star-free horror flick when there are exorcisms going on.