According to The Hollywood Reporter, after a summer with precious little heat at the boxoffice, the first weekend of the fall season was off to a strong start as Screen Gems' The Exorcism of Emily Rose cast out an estimated $30.2 million at the ticket window to take possession of first place. The opening for Exorcism exceeded expectations by a wide margin, marking the third biggest ever in September and the second highest for Sony for the year-to-date. Buena Vista's Sweet Home Alabama ($35.6 million) and New Line Cinema's Rush Hour ($33 million) were the only films that had better openings in September.

Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson star in the Scott Derrickson-helmed supernatural thriller, which was based on events that took place in Germany in 1976. The solid debut of Exorcism, which also was a post-Labor Day weekend best, aided in lifting the results for the session overall, with the total for this frame's top 12 films generating 16% more than the comparable period last year. The performance was all the more impressive considering the fallout from Hurricane Katrina.

A strong Japanese bow kept Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the No. 1 spot at the international boxoffice this weekend. Estimated overall takings were $11.3 million from about 4,100 prints in 49 countries; the cumulative total now stands at $155.7 million. The Japanese responded strongly to Tim Burton's fantasy, delivering about $4.3 million from 338 prints for the top spot ahead of local title holdovers Nana and Suspect: Muroi Shinhi. The opening was more than double Shark Tale, 66% up on Shrek 2, 55% better than Madagascar and 94% of The Incredibles.

In New Zealand, Charlie dominated the market with excellent earnings of $875,000 from 80 prints, commanding more than 70% of the top-five market share. Excluding sneaks, this was 138% better than Fantastic Four, 64% up on The Incredibles, 35% better than Madagascar and 21% up on Finding Nemo.

Dont't forget to also check out: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.