Box Office Report: 'Sinister' Surprise Friday Winner Over 'Taken 2,' 'Argo'

9:02 AM PST 10/13/2012 by Pamela McClintock

Kevin James comedy "Here Comes the Boom" is soft; "Atlas Shrugged: Part 2" hasn't yet galvanized conservative moviegoers.

Summit Entertainment's microbudgeted horror pic Sinister stole the show at the Friday box office, grossing $7.5 million and beating holdover Taken 2 and Ben Affleck's new political thriller Argo.

However, Taken 2 is still expected to win the weekend overall with $22.7 million and pushing the sequel's 10-day domestic cume close to $90 million. From 20th Century Fox and EuropaCorp, Taken 2 placed No. 2 on Friday with a gross of $7 million, followed by Warner Bros.' Argo with $5.9 million.

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For the weekend itself, there could be a fierce three-way race between Sinister, Argo and Sony's Hotel Transylvania for No. 2 spot. Box office observers have the trio of films all grossing in the $17 million to $19 million range.

One advantage Argo has is a rare A+ CinemaScore, which virtually guarantees great word of mouth. The glowing CinemaScore mirrors the critical acclaim the film has earned on the fall festival circuit, and should ensure a long run through awards season.

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Based on the true story of the rescue of six Americans hiding out at the Canadian Embassy during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, Argo also headlines Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman. The film chronicles how the Americans were able to escape Iran after the CIA and specialist Tony Mendez staged a fake movie production as a cover.

Sinister marks another victory for uber horror producer Jason Blum and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones' Automatik, a joint venture between IM Global and Alliance. The pic, receiving a C+ CinemaScore, common for a horror film, was made for less than $3 million. Summit is distributing the movie.

The news was grim for new Kevin James comedy Here Comes the Boom, which grossed $4.6 million on Friday to come in No. 6, despite receiving an A CinemaScore. The pic is the latest school-themed movie to falter after Walden Media's Won't Back Down. Boom should earn $11 million to $12 million for the weekend.

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CBS Films' new dark comedy Seven Psychopaths placed No. 9 on Friday, grossing $1.4 million. The film is only playing in 1,480 theaters and received a B+ CinemaScore.

The political entry of the weekend, Atlas Shrugged: Part II, came in No. 10 despite a grassroots effort to galvanize conservatives in the weeks leading up the presidential election. The pic grossed roughly $693,000 from 1,014 locations.

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