'Exorcism' Conjures Up Slim Box Office Lead Over 'Takers'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Lionsgate

    The fright flick "The Last Exorcism" and the heist thriller "Takers" are in a photo finish for the top spot at the weekend box office.

    According to studio estimates Sunday, "The Last Exorcism" had a thin lead with a $21.3 million debut, closely followed by "Takers" with a $21 million opening. They were close enough that rankings could change after final numbersare released Monday.

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    After two weekends in the No. 1 spot, the action romp "The Expendables" slipped to third place with $9.5 million, raising its total to $82 million.

    Playing in narrower release, a 3-D special edition of "Avatar" pulled in $4 million, lifting the sci-fi sensation's domestic total to $753.8 million. The new version adds nine minutes of footage.

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