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Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 4 had no trouble topping the domestic box office chart with $30.2 million, but it lagged notably behind the past two films in the hit Halloween franchise.
Overseas, it’s the opposite. The R-rated pic is pacing ahead of the previous films in the series and opened to $26.5 million from 33 markets for a worldwide debut of $56.7 million. Paranormal 4 is guaranteed to be an enormous profit generator for Paramount and producers Jason Blum and Oren Peli, considering it cost $5 million to produce.
Paramount president of domestic marketing and distribution Megan Colligan tells The Hollywood Reporter that there will be a Paranormal Activity 5 and that it will hit theaters next October. Also, there will be a spinoff released earlier next year targeted to Hispanics. That film is set to begin production early in the year, and is teased at the end of Paranormal 4. The teaser is in Spanish, but the film will be predominately in English.
Still, there are signs of franchise fatigue in North America, where Paranormal 4’s opening was 43 percent behind Paranormal Activity 3’s $52.6 million debut a year ago and 26 percent behind Paranormal Activity 2’s opening in 2009. Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested the pic would open in the mid-$30 million range.
Overseas, Paranormal 4 opened 11 percent ahead of Paranormal 3 and 25 percent ahead of Paranormal 2.
“This played the way sequels often play, in terms of becoming stronger internationally,” Colligan said. “There is a lot of life left in this franchise.”.
Imax theaters contributed $1.8 million. The giant-screen exhibitor decided a week ago to carry the pic.
Studio insiders say there is much more competition at the North American 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.
Summit Entertainment’s Sinister in particular was problematic for Paranormal 4 (both films were produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse). The film fell only 50 percent in its second weekend — a good hold for the genre horror — to gross $9 million for a domestic cume of $32 million.
Ben Affleck‘s awards darling Argo, placing No. 2, enjoyed a record hold in its second weekend, grossing $16.6 million and falling only 15 percent for a domestic cume of $43.2 million. That’s the slimmest decline for a nonholiday live-action film, according to Warners.
Sony’s hit 3D toon Hotel Transylvania edged out Fox’s Taken 2 to come in No. 3, grossing $13.5 million for a domestic total of $119 million. Worldwide, the pic has earned $187.3 million.
Taken 2 jumped the $100 million mark in its third weekend, grossing $13.4 million for a domestic haul of $106 million. Internationally, the sequel now has earned a massive $175.7 for a global total of $281.7 million — well ahead of the $226.8 million earned by Taken in its entire run.
Summit’s new entry Alex Cross — starring Tyler Perry as the fabled Washington, D.C., detective popularized in James Patterson’s book series — grossed a soft $11.8 million to place No. 5. Directed by Rob Cohen, the film also stars Matthew Fox as a serial killer pursued by Cross.
Alex Cross, receiving an A CinemaScore, represents a different role for Perry, but his fanbase turned out in force. Conversely, the film was soft outside African-American markets, despite a targeted marketing campaign geared toward Patterson fans. African-Americans made up 74 percent of the audience.
Alex Cross was fully financed and produced by QED International.
At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight’s The Sessions enjoyed a promising start, grossing $121,005 from four theaters for a location average of $30,251, the best of the weekend. Star John Hawkes is generating early awards interest for his performance (he stars opposite Helen Hunt).
Documentary Brooklyn Castle, charting how a middle school chess team became national champions, turned in a solid opening for Producers Distribution Agency, grossing $22,122 from two theaters for a location average of $11,061.
French fantasy Holy Motors, distributed by Indomina, opened to $19,488 from two theaters for location average of $9,744.
Among holdovers, Roadside Attraction’s financial thriller Arbitrage jumped the $7 million mark.
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