Despite early weekend box office estimates reported Monday morning (August 30), Takers has actually edged out The Last Exorcism as the highest-grossing film for the weekend ending August 29, AllHipHop.com has confirmed.
Takers raked in an impressive $20.5 million, beating it’s rival opening film by just shy of $200,000.
The independently-produced crime drama originally drew attention for its diverse ensemble cast.
In addition to movie vet Matt Dillon, franchise stars Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen, and award-winning actors Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana, Takers also features singer Chris Brown and rapper T.I. in their second and third major film roles, respectively.
Both artists also served as executive producers for the project, which was produced by Rainforest Films and T.I’s Grand Hustle Films.
Box office estimates originally had Exorcist leading the weekend by $300,000 over Takers, bringing in $21.3 million.
And while the numbers may have been close, the significance is greater for Takers, which went into theaters as the weekend’s underdog.
“It’s really an incredible testament to the power of the people,” Rainforest Films co-founder Will Packer told AllHipHop.com. “Hollywood expected us to do closer to $10 million since we were smaller and on far less screens.”
Perhaps more powerful than any advertising campaign was an aggressive Twitter campaign led by cast members TI, Idris Elba and Chris Brown.
With the support of their fans, the movie’s three stars kept Takers a “trending topic,” by having movie-goers tweet photos and reports from theaters across the country.
T.I. even tweeted about the film’s success today. “The real #’s are out and we did it!!! #TAKERS is #1!!!”
“We all expected to win,” added Packer. “It was so close that every dollar counted. And I thank every single person that bought a ticket. This means there will be more movies like Takers.”
In addition to being T.I.’s first released project since completing legal obligations tied to his 2007 arrest, the film is also the first in a three-picture deal signed with Screen Gems in June 2008.
According to Variety, T.I.’s second Screen Gems offering will be a drama titled Boulevard, which was being developed at the time the agreement was signed.
At press time, no details were available on the film’s progress.
In interviews discussing Takers and his seventh studio album King Uncaged, due out September 28, T.I. has also hinted at a possible sequel to his 2006 film debut ATL.