Box Office: Record Activity For the Paranormal Crowd

The Reject ReportJust when you thought it was safe to station video cameras in an attempt to capture the nightly doings of some nefarious supernatural entity. Oh, those pesky ghosty things and their habits of turning innocent tea parties into screaming nightmares. That’s not based on first-hand experience, by the way. My tea party days are over.

Luckily for Paramount, audiences were in the mood for chills this weekend, as Paranormal Activity 3 had a dump truck of cash backed up to its haunted house doors and unloaded. The third entry in the now-never-ending series not only trounced the competition and stunned box office analysts, its broke the records for both October opening weekend and Fall opening weekend. Both of those records were previously held by last year’s Jackass 3D, which debuted to $50.3m.

This bodes extremely well for the Paranormal Activity series, the fourth entry of which is sure to be announced sometime this coming week. The previously reigning champion of October horror, the Saw franchise, never even dreamed to have an opening this big. It’s biggest opening weekend was in 2006 when Saw III made $33.6m in its first three days. Of course, the Paranormal Activity films trumped the Saw films long ago when the first PA ended its domestic run with $107.9m, a number none of the Saw films ever even came close to. It seems likely we’ll be getting a new Paranormal Activity film every October until the day comes a new franchise take over, and people begin to tire of watching stationary shots of kitchens. Spooky stuff.

That new franchise sure as hell won’t be The Three Musketeers. That film opened even lower than expected and gave director Paul W.S. Anderson his worst opening numbers since 1998’s Soldier debuted with $6.4m. As you all probably know, there wasn’t a Soldier 2, and the sure won’t be a Three Musketeers 2. Actually it might be called The Six Musketeers. Or Three Musketeers Squared, which would be Nine Musketeers. This movie is making my brain hurt, and I didn’t even see it. Point is, it bombed, so we’ll move on.

Real Steel and Footloose had respectable drops this weekend, as did pretty much every other returning film out there. That is, except for The Thing, which dropped liked the Arctic temperature at night. Zing. With a reported budget of $35m, The Thing will be lucky to even break even in theaters, let alone make a little profit for Universal. Sounds kind of like the budget-to-gross ratio for the 1982 The Thing. So we’ll just apologize in advance to horror fans in 2040.

Johnny English Reborn and The Mighty Macs were movies that got released this weekend. I, much like most of you, was shocked to learn of this knowledge. I was also shocked to learn that Cowboys and Aliens finally broke $100m. Some movie called The Worst Movie EVER! made $12. $12. That’s like two tickets in a week. Matinee price.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Paranormal Activity 3 – $54m NEW
  2. Real Steel – $11.3m (-30.5%) $67.2m total
  3. Footloose – $10.8m (-30.3%) $30.8m total
  4. The Three Musketeers – $8.8m NEW
  5. The Ides of March – $4.9m (-31.1%) $29.1m total
  6. Dolphin Tale – $4.2m (-32.6%) $64.3m total
  7. Moneyball – $4m (-25.8%) $63.7m total
  8. Johnny English Reborn – $3.8m NEW
  9. The Thing – $3.1m (-63.3%) $14.1m total
  10. 50/50 – $2.8m (-34.3%) $28.8m total

Thank you, Paranormal Activity 3. With your contribution to the total box office, we are happy to report a grand total of $107.7m, up 43.3% from last weekend, though not quite as big a weekend as we saw when Paranormal Activity 2 hit last October. Of course, Jackass 3D was in its second weekend at the time, and the combination of the two pulled in some sick dollars.

Next weekend will be an interesting one. Paranormal Activity 3, even with a decent sized drop, will bring in some major bucks, but three new movies hit theaters as well. In Time, The Rum Diary, and Puss in Boots all have the opportunity to score big, especially since all three feature Hollywood heartthrobs. By that, I mean Timberlake, Depp, and Puss. That’s right. Puss. Those eyes. They’re just so enchanting. Like you just want to pet the little guy until he nuzzle up under your arm…never mind all that.

We’ll be back on Thursday to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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