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The R-rated horror pic The Devil Inside is scaring up strong business at the domestic box office, where it’s now on course to gross anywhere from the high teens to $20 million–meaning it has a shot at taking the No. 1 spot away from fellow Paramount title Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol.
Devil Inside, which is being released via Paramount’s micro-budgeted Insurge label, was acquired by the studio for only $1 million. Insurge was launched after the phenomenal success of another low-budget horror film, Paranormal Activity.
Heading into the weekend, Paramount indicated that Devil Inside would open in the $8 million to $10 million range, but that number has been revised upward in light of the film’s midnight perforfmance Thursday night, followed by strong matinee business. Devil Inside earned $2 million in its midnight runs.
Directed and co-written by William Brent Bell, the documentary style Devil Inside is about a woman who becomes involved in a series of exorcisms after her own mother was supposedly possessed, killing three people. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider, a producer on the Paranormal Activity franchise, brought the project to Paramount.
Early January is a popular landing spot for genre fare; in 2009, The Unborn opened to $19.8 million, while Daybreakers opened to $15.1 million in 2010.
Devil Inside is the only new wide release of the weekend.
At the awards box office, the news will be Focus Features and Working Title’s arthouse hit Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which makes a major push in expanding from 57 theaters to more than 800 as awards season heats up. The espionage pic, starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy, has earned $4.5 million to date domestically.
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