Box Office Report: 'Paranormal 4' Winning Friday, Could Hit $60 Mil in Global Debut
In North America, horror pic may not open as high as previous two in Halloween franchise but it's stronger overseas; Tyler Perry's "Alex Cross" enjoying solid matinee business.
Paramount's Paranormal Activity 4 is scaring up good business as it opens around the globe and could hit $60 million in its worldwide debut -- 12 times its tiny $5 million production budget.
There is a caveat. In North America, the R-rated horror pic is trailing Paranormal Activity 3, which grossed $26.3 million on Friday for a weekend debut of $52.6 million, a series best.
Early returns suggest Paranormal 4 may earn $15 million on Friday (including $4.5 million in Thursday late-night shows) for a weekend debut in the $35 million range. That's also less than the $40.7 million opening of Paranormal Activity 2 in 2009.
Studio insiders say there is much more competition in the marketplace this October as a number of films -- including holdovers Taken 2, Argo, Hotel Transylvania and last weekend's new horror offering Sinister -- continue to overperform. And there's always the possibility of franchise fatigue.
Overseas, it's the opposite. Paranormal 4, rolling out in the U.K. on Wednesday and in another 12 markets Thursday, is pacing well ahead of Paranormal 3 and has already grossed $4 million. At those levels, it should post an international opening in the neighborhood of $25 million.
So far, the U.K. leads with $1.3 million. Opening Wednesday to $857,000, Paranormal 4 was 52 percent ahead of last year's threequel.
Paranormal 4 opened to $722,000 in Australia, the best of the series. Russia turned in $715,000, the biggest opener for a 2D horror film. Germany's opening of $620,000 was 33 percent ahead.
The movie opens in another 19 markets Friday for a total territory count of 33.
The microbudgeted Paranormal franchise, guided by Paramount and Jason Blum's Blumhouse, has reaped enormous profits for all involved. The first three films, made on a combined shoestring budget of $8 million, have grossed north of $576 million worldwide.
The fourth outing takes place five years after Paranormal 2, which ended with Katie (franchise star Katie Featherston) kidnapping her nephew.
The weekend's only other new wide release domestically is Summit Entertainment's Alex Cross, starring Tyler Perry as the D.C. detective featured in James Patterson's book series. Directed by Rob Cohen, the film features Matthew Fox as a serial killer pursued by Cross.
QED International fully financed and produced the film, which hopes to open in the $13 million to $15 million range. Summit has domestic rights, while Entertainment One is handling Canada.
Alex Cross marks a departure for Perry, and the big question has been whether his fan base will follow him. Tracking suggests the film will open in the low-teen millions. Morgan Freeman has played Alex Cross twice, in Kiss the Girls and Here Comes the Spider. In marketing Alex Cross, Summit targeted Perry's fans and fans of Patterson's books.
Alex Cross could end up competing with Ben Affleck's critical and awards darling Argo, which is proving to have a strong hold in its second weekend.