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Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 4 is easily winning the domestic box office race, even if it won’t reach the levels of the previous two films. And it is sure to be a profit generator, considering it cost just $5 million to produce.
Topping the competition, the R-rated horror pic grossed $15 million on Friday from 3,412 locations, 43 percent behind Paranormal Activity 3’s $26.3 million Friday.
Paranormal 4 is predicting a weekend opening in the $33.5 million range, notably less than the $52.6 million debut of Paranormal 3 last year and Paranormal Activity 2, which opened to $40.7 million after a $20.1 million Friday.
The good news — Paranormal 4 is making up the difference overseas, where it is opening in 33 markets this weekend and already outpacing Paranormal 3 in many key territories, including the U.K. and Germany. The international weekend estimate is $26.5 million for a worldwide debut of $60 million, in line with the global debut of Paranormal 2 (the film has earned $11 million through Friday overseas).
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.
Domestically, Paranormal 4 received a C CinemaScore, compared to C+ for Paranormal 3.
Studio insiders say there is much more competition at the domestic box office 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.
They’re not wrong. Ben Affleck’s awards darling Argo enjoyed a stellar hold in its second Friday, grossing $5.1 million and falling only 14 percent for a domestic cume of $36.7 million. The Warner Bros. film came in No. 2, where it will stay for the weekend with a gross in the $17 million range for narrow 11 percent decline.
Fox and EuropaCorp’s Taken 2 will jump the $100 million mark over the weekend after grossing $4.3 million on Friday for a domestic total of $96.8 million.
Summit’s new entry Alex Cross — starring Tyler Perry as the fabled Washington, D.C detective popularized in James Patterson’s book series — grossed $4 million to come in No. 4 on Friday. The movie, receiving an A CinemaScore, represents a different role for Perry, but his fanbase turned out in force. Conversely, the film was soft outside of those fans.
Alex Cross, fully financed and produced by QED International, may fall to No. 5 for the weekend, since kids’ hit Hotel Transylvania will move up the chart after a $3.6 million Friday.
The 3D Sony toon has now earned $109.1 million domestically and should finish the weekend with a gross in the $14.5 to $15 million range, good enough for No. 3.
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