'Paranormal 4' Slips, But Still Wins
Box Office Up Again
Published: 10/21/2012, Last Updated: 10/22/2012 06:30am
Paramount’s Paranormal 4 easily topped the weekend box office with an estimated $30.2 million, but that total was far behind the debut totals of the previous two films in the series. Nevertheless the total of the top 12 films was up 13.7% from the same weekend last year when Paranormal 3 topped the box office with a robust $52.6 million. Once again the holdovers performed well with no film in the top 10 suffering a drop of 50% or more. The only other new film, an adaptation of a James Patterson Alex Cross novel starring Tyler Perry, opened somewhat disappointingly in fifth place.
Paramount's latest entry in the "found footage" Paranormal Activity franchise suffered a major drop in audience interest as its debut was down 43% from Paranormal Activity 3 and 26% from Paranormal Activity 2. Bigger foreign grosses from audiences that are just becoming familiar with the property mean that Paranormal Activity 4 will remain obscenely profitable (it cost only $5 million to make), though the future of the franchise could be in trouble domestically. After scoring $4.3 million on Thursday midnight shows, Paranormal Activity 4 fell by 38% from Friday to Saturday night, which is never a good sign. The audience for the horror film was split evenly between the sexes and skewed young for an "R" rated movie with 60% of the crowd under 25. They gave the film a poor "C" CinemaScore, which doesn't bode well for its performance in future weeks. But Paranormal fans don't need to worry, Paranormal 5 is already in the works and will debut next October.
Ben Affleck's Argo remained at #2 for the second week in a row, but this Oscar-magnet true story of a little known Iranian hostage rescue dropped a meager 14.6% as it earned $16.6 million. Sony's animated Hotel Transylvania was almost as good, slipping just 21.7% in its fourth week in theaters as it brought its domestic total to $119 million. Taken 2 dropped from #1 to #4 in its third weekend, but still posted a very decent hold, just off 38.7% as it crossed the century mark domestically with $106 million.
Tyler Perry's first attempt to replace Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross opened somewhat below expectations, but it is too early to give up on the film. There was a huge disconnect between the reaction of the critics, who gave the film a pitiful 12% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that of opening weekend audiences who gave the film a solid "A" CinemaScore. Tyler Perry's fans turned out for the film and they loved it. African-Americans made up 74% of the audience, which went up 20% from Friday to Saturday, which is always a sign of good word of mouth. S ince the film cost only $23 million to produce, it is far too early to pull the plug on this reboot of the franchise with Perry replacing Morgan Freeman.
Tim Burton's Frankenweenie remained in the top ten in its third weekend at #8. So far the film has earned just about $40 million worldwide, about half of what it needs to break even. Its only chance to be profitable will come on disc. The stylish science fiction film Looper, which came in at #10, has already earned $130 million worldwide, which is more than enough to defray its $30 million cost. It would great if the studios saw this as incentive to create more original science fiction films and not just a sequel to Looper.
Check back next week to see if a brace of new films led by the Wachowski's high-concept science fiction film Cloud Atlas, the teen comedy Fun Size, the horror movie Silent Hill Revelations 3D, and the surfing drama Chasing Mavericks all attempt to keep Hollywood's win streak going.
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