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'The Perfect Guy' tops box office with Shyamalan's 'The Visit' close behind

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(Read caption) 'The Perfect Guy' stars Michael Ealy (r.) and Holt McCallany (r.).

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The thriller “The Perfect Guy” came in first place at the box office over the weekend, while the new M. Night Shyamalan horror movie “The Visit” placed second.

“Perfect” stars Michael Ealy of “The Following” and “The Best Man Holiday” actress Sanaa Lathan and centers on a woman who begins dating a normal-seeming person who quickly reveals himself to be far from what he seemed. 

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The movie grossed more than $26 million at the domestic box office. Close on its heels was Shyamalan’s film “The Visit,” which grossed more than $25 million at the domestic box office. The new movie by the director of “The Sixth Sense” tells the story of children who go stay with their grandparents and soon encounter strange behavior from their relatives and spooky situations. 

The movie “War Room,” which follows a couple who decide to work on their marriage through prayer, grossed more than $7 million at the domestic box office. “War” came in first at the box office last weekend, bumping the biopic “Straight Outta Compton” from first place. 

Meanwhile, the movie “A Walk in the Woods,” which is based on the Appalachian Trail memoir of the same name by Bill Bryson, came in fourth at this weekend’s box office with a gross of more than $4 million and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” came in fifth, grossing more than $4 million as well.

September can be a sleepy month at the box office, with the high-profile summer movie season having recently concluded. But under-the-radar releases can become hits by opening during this traditionally quiet time. Last year, the young adult book adaptation “The Maze Runner” did well enough after opening on Sept. 19 that a sequel is now being released later this month, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.”

Similarly, the thriller “No Good Deed,” which stars Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, did fairly well at the box office after opening right around this same time last year. The Denzel Washington action movie “The Equalizer” became a big hit after opening later in September 2014. These movies could have gotten lost if they’d opened later in the year, such as in November, where more blockbuster and high-profile Oscar contenders are released, or earlier in the year, during the busy summer months. The slot doesn’t work for every movie, of course – last year’s action movie “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” which stars Liam Neeson, opened in September 2014 but did not perform well. However, for other films, a lack of competition can makes these movies stand out.