LOS ANGELES — “The Perfect Guy” and “The Visit” sailed past modest opening weekend expectations and locked in debuts in the mid-$20 million range thanks in part to good timing and robust female turnout.

“The Perfect Guy,” a PG-13 rated thriller starring Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy, secured the first place spot with $26.7 million, according to Rentrak estimates on Sunday. The Sony/Screen Gems film cost only $12 million to produce.

M. Night Shyamalan’s nail-biter “The Visit,” a $5 million production from micro-budget horror-makers Blumhouse, took a close second with an estimated $25.7 million for distributor Universal. With numbers this close, the places might shift when Monday actuals roll in, but both films are resounding successes on a weekend that often doesn’t go noticed on the release calendar.

“We’re not breaking any records, but this is the perfect weekend for these films,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the Senior Media Analyst for Rentrak. “Studios are finding a land of opportunity in weekends that were heretofore ‘slow weekends’ at the box office and proving that audiences are always looking for new content.”

Female audiences helped “The Perfect Guy” shoot to the No. 1 spot. An estimated 69 percent were women.

“It bodes well for the longevity of the film. Not only is it a date movie, but it’s a film that girlfriends are going to go to together as well,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s President of Worldwide Distribution.

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