By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — Ireland loves a holy horror and the controversial "Exorcist" movie proves it with the 25-year old classic about demonic possession soaring to number one on cinema screens throughout the country and earning over £500,000 in just 10 days.
Warner Brothers reissued the movie with enhanced digital sound (better quality screams) and added scenes (more gore) but are taken aback by the response.
More than 100,000 people have flocked to see it since it re-released on Halloween and it had been the number one box office hit on successive weekends.
"Cinemas have been packed," a spokesman said. "We are now planning to keep it on some screens until Christmas.
"It’s extraordinary after a quarter of a century that it still has such an appeal. A lot of young people have obviously been dying to see it."
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It was a major commercial hit when it was first released and remains one of the top 50 earners.
Based on a true-life incident of a boy possessed by a demon in the 1940s, the movie caused huge controversy when it was first issued and has since become a classic of the genre.
It went on video release after its cinema run but the British Board of Censors later decided to ban it and this effectively resulted in its removal from the Irish market as well. It is not shown on television.