The Reject ReportTwo weekends in a row. Two cultural phenomena (as well as entries into a highly successful franchise) exploding into theaters. After Jackass 3-D broke October records last weekend, you might have thought movie goers would take a break, kick back as the weather gets cooler, and maybe carve out a jack-o-lantern. Nonsense, says the pool cleaner-hating demon! Get those people into theaters and let them feel the terror all for themselves.

That’s precisely what millions upon millions of people did this weekend, as Paranormal Activity 2 opened to the fifth highest October opening in history. It now also holds the highest October opening for a horror film, beating out the $39.1 million The Grudge opened to in 2004. With a budget of only $3 million, you can be certain Paramount will be green lighting Paranormal Activity 3 in a matter of minutes.

You can also be certain that Paranormal Activity has truly become the franchise to take over the yearly, Halloween spot from Saw. Somewhere, some Lionsgate execs are crying into their soup, praying Saw 3-D is the second coming of whatever divine intervention that franchise grabbed hold of.

Jackass 3-D had a rather large drop from last weekend, but still managed to clean out over $20 million. It has already made more than the previous, two Jackass films made in their entire run and will likely break past $100 million by next week. Here is still hoping, though, that they don’t rush to the fourth film. The four-year gap between Jackass films is ideal, and too much too quickly could inject a level of staleness to the entire franchise.

Every other film in the top 10 this weekend had either a drop of less than 40% or an actual gain as seen in the case of Hereafter, which expanded to over 2000 screens. The public simply seemed to want to go to the movies this past weekend, and it didn’t seem to matter what saw.

Here is how the weekend box office shaped up:

  1. Paranormal Activity 2 – $41.5m NEW
  2. Jackass 3-D – $21.6m (-57.1%) $87.1m total
  3. RED – $15m (-31.1%) $43.4m total
  4. Hereafter – $12m (+5348.8%) $12.3m total
  5. The Social Network – $7.3m (-29.2%) $72.9m total
  6. Secretariat – $6.9m (-25.8%) $37.4m total
  7. Life As We Know It – $6.1m (-31.3%) $37.6m total
  8. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – $3.1m (-24.9%) $50.1m total
  9. The Town – $2.7m (-31.6%) $84.6m total
  10. Easy A – $1.7m (-33.5%) $54.7m total

The total box office take for the top 10 here is $117.9 million, actually up .7% from last weekend’s record breaking take. It was also up 14.4% from the same weekend last year when Paranormal Activity expanded to nearly 2000 screens and Saw VI opened wide. This past weekend isn’t the highest grossing weekend on record for October, but its impact is certainly undeniable.

Next weekend might prove the final nail in the Saw franchise’s coffin, as Saw 3-D opens all by itself. Those Lionsgate execs I mentioned early are surely sweating about the outcome, and whether their time in the Halloween slot has truly been taken over.

We’ll be back on Thursday to run down how we see the weekend turning out.

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