Sir Anthony Hopkins' horror film The Rite has topped the US box office on a weekend when many Oscar-nominated films received a boost, according to studio estimates.
The Warner Bros flick earned 15 million dollars from just under 3,000 theatres. The PG-13, Exorcist-influenced movie drew most of its audience from the older-than-25 demographic.
In its 10th week of release, the Weinstein Company's The King's Speech earned 11.1 million dollars while adding nearly 900 screens.
Now with a cumulative box-office haul of 72.2 million, the story of King George VI's triumph over his stuttering affliction continues to build momentum as the Oscar favourite for best picture. It led with 12 Oscar nominations, and its director, Tom Hooper, won best director from the Directors Guild on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Screen Actors Guild, whose members make up a large block of academy voters, also awarded The King's Speech its top honour, best ensemble.
Last week's top film, the Natalie Portman romantic comedy No Strings Attached, from Paramount, slipped to second with 13.7 million dollars.
The other debut this weekend, CBS Films' action film The Mechanic, which stars Jason Statham and Ben Foster, took in 11.5 million, tied for third with Sony's updated superhero film The Green Hornet.
Heavily marketed, The Rite sought a PG-13 rating less to attract younger audience members than "not to offend" older fans of the 73-year-old Hopkins, said Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros.
Fellman credited the film's success to Hopkins, who remains a draw for moviegoers, especially in scary films that recall his famous performance as Hannibal Lecter in 1991's The Silence of the Lambs.