Frights proved more popular than laughs at the box office this weekend, as "Exorcist: The Beginning" bested "Without a Paddle" for the No. 1 spot.
The "Exorcist" prequel grossed $18.2 million in its first three days, while the comedic "Paddle," also in its debut weekend, had to settle for second place with $13.7 million. "Exorcist'''s figure is the lowest for a No. 1 movie since Easter weekend in early April, when "The Passion of the Christ" topped the charts in its seventh weekend with $15.2 million.
"The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" fell 43 percent in its second weekend to $13.2 million, while last week's top film, "Alien vs. Predator," plummeted 67 percent to $12.5 million.
Meanwhile, the low-budget scarefest "Open Water" expanded nationwide after two weeks in limited release and grossed $11.8 million, good enough for fifth place.
Don't expect any bigger numbers next weekend: Two of its wide releases are sequels to "Anaconda" and "Baby Geniuses." Somehow I doubt you're calling ahead for tickets.