Box Office Results: Paranormal Activity 4 Leads with $30 Million

The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

It was business as usual at the late October box office as Paramount released the fourth installment of their hit horror franchise Paranormal Activity 4, once again directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, though many of the diehard fans had apparently moved on as it ended up opening with just $30.2 million, down from the $40 million opening of Paranormal Activity 2 and $52.5 million of last year’s installment. The fourth chapter, which continued where “2″ left off, opened early on Thursday night at 9 p.m. to make $4.5 million including midnights then added another $10.5 million on Friday. The lo-fi horror movie reportedly cost only $5 million (roughly 1,000 times the cost of Oren Peli’s original movie), which means that it was profitable as of Friday and even with the fairly big drop from the previous installment, we can probably expect a fifth and sixth movie sometime down the line. (UPDATE: Paramount has already announced via The Hollywood Reporter that there will be a Paranormal Activity 5 released next October.)

An even bigger story this weekend was the fantastic hold for Ben Affleck’s political thriller Argo (Warner Bros.), which remained in second place with $16.6 million, down just 15% from its opening weekend. It has grossed $43.2 million in ten days and the movie doing this well and getting such strong word-of-mouth business almost guarantees it to be a player during awards season.

The decent holds was a trend that carried over to other returning movies including the animated comedy Hotel Transylvania (Sony), which actually moved back up to third place with $13.5 million and $119 million total. Internationally, the movie added another $14.5 million overseas to bring its worldwide total to $187.3 million.

It actually was a fairly close race for third place with Liam Neeson’s action-thriller Taken 2 (20th Century Fox), which dropped to fourth place with $13.4 million, down 39% from last weekend. Having grossed $105 million to date, it becomes the 20th movie of 2012 to cross the $100 million mark domestically.

Things didn’t fare as well for Tyler Perry’s first role in a movie he didn’t direct with the return of James Patterson’s FBI profiler Alex Cross. Directed by Rob Cohen, it opened in fifth place with a relatively disappointing $11.8 million in 2,539 theaters. It averaged roughly $4,600 per site, which isn’t terrible but certainly isn’t as strong as some of Perry’s own movies or the opening of the previous Alex Cross movies starring Morgan Freeman.

Scott Derrickson’s horror movie Sinister (Summit Entertainment), starring Ethan Hawke, dropped to sixth place with $9 million and $31.9 million total.

Kevin James’ comedy Here Comes the Boom (Sony) was another returning movie with a respectable hold, dropping just 28% and taking seventh place with $8.5 million and $23.2 million grossed in its first ten days.

The a capella comedy Pitch Perfect (Universal) followed in 8th place with $7 million, down 24% from last week, with $45.8 million grossed since opening in limited release in late September.

Tim Burton’s stop-motion animated Frankenweenie (Walt Disney) followed in ninth place with $4.4 million and $28.3 million total, while Rian Johnson’s Looper (Tristar/FilmDistrict) took tenth place with $4.2 million, having amassed $57.8 million during its four weeks in theaters.

The Top 10 brought in an estimated $118 million, up roughly 9% from the same weekend last year, even though Paranormal Activity 4 opened 45% lower than its predecessor, which topped the box office this weekend last year with $52.5 million.

Other strong holds for the weekend outside the Top 10 include CBS Films’ Seven Psychopaths, which dropped just 21% to take in $3.3 million its second weekend, while Summit’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower had an unprecedented 0% drop to make $2.1 million in its second week in wide release. Oddly, they’ve both grossed just over $9.1 million so far.

Opening in limited release this weekend was Ben Lewin’s Sundance hit The Sessions (Fox Searchlight), starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, which debuted in four theaters in New York and L.A. to bring in $121 thousand. Eclectic French filmmaker Leos Carax’s festival favorite Holy Motors (Indomina Releasing) grossed $19.5 thousand in its own two-theater release.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.

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