The power of fright compels “The Exorcist: Believer” to No. 1 debut as “Hocus Pocus” returns in top 10
By Lester Fabian Brathwaite
October 09, 2023
The Exorcist: Believer, a direct sequel to the 1973 classic but also the sixth film in the franchise, debuted at No. 1 at the box office with $27.2 million domestically, as per Comscore.
Internationally, the Blumhouse franchise reboot took in another $17.9 million for a global debut of $45.1 million.
Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 12 years ago, Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom, Jr.) has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett) on his own. But when Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia Marcum) disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn).
The Oscar-winning 90-year-old starred in the original William Friedkin film and Believer marks her first time returning to the franchise.
“I really give [director] David Gordon Green credit for that,” Blum told EW of Burstyn’s casting. “He was able to get Jamie Lee Curtis comfortable [on 2018’s Halloween] and David got Ellen to feel comfortable to join us in this iteration of her iconic movie.”
Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie slipped to No. 2 in its second week, grossing $11.8 million to bring its domestic total to $38.9 million ($87.1 million globally). After being denied the top spot last week by those animated good boys and girls, Saw X comes in at No. 3 this weekend with $8.2 million, for a domestic cume of $32.6 million ($52.7 million globally).
Sci-fi epic The Creator, which envisions a future war between humans and AI, took fourth with $6.1 million, bringing its two-week domestic total to $24.9 million ($61.9 million globally). And The Blind, a biopic of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, is in fifth with $3.1 million, for a domestic total of $10.5 million.
Returning to theaters, Halloween essential Hocus Pocus debuted at No. 10 with $1.5 million. The film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy originally opened on the same weekend in 1993 when it debuted at No. 4 with $8.1 million. It would go on to make $47 million worldwide.
This isn’t the first time Hocus Pocus has come back to theaters, as it did during the pandemic in Oct. 2020, when it made $1.9 million and opened second to Tenet.
Elsewhere, Dicks: The Musical opened in seven locations for a weekend debut of $220,867 with a per theater average of $31,552, making it one of the best limited openings of the year.