Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
October 26, 2009
The Halloween scares came early this seasonKim Hollis: Paranormal Activity expanded into wider release and shocked the world by winning the weekend with $21.1 million. Where does this rank in the annals of box office upsets?
Josh Spiegel: I think if you'd said two months ago that this would have happened, that Paranormal Activity, a movie starring two complete unknowns and shot on the cheap, would top Saw VI, I would have laughed my head off. However, during the last month or so, Paranormal Activity has become the biggest box office story since The Hangover. I'm still a bit surprised that Saw VI, being the known property, wasn't able to win (though I am glad it didn't) the top spot, but Paramount Pictures has been doing a stellar marketing job with this movie, rolling it out wider and wider at the right time. Congratulations are in order for everyone involved.
Michael Lynderey: It's a good result, but the credit for the upset here should really go to Saw. Paranormal Activity just did the expected and held on to that $20 million sum it took in last weekend - expected because the screen count more than doubled this time around, so that negated the 50% drop that would have come Paranormal's way had it already been a wide release (now that drop will hit next weekend). If Saw VI hadn't gone to such great lengths to disappoint, it would have easily beaten Paranormal's take.
Tim Briody: As I mentioned in the Friday Box Office Analysis column, you can now place this alongside The Blair Witch Project (which many had already done) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding in the pantheon of Little Films That Could. For it to actually be helped instead of hurt by the era of insta-feedback via Twitter and Facebook is a solid accomplishment. I think it's still got one more solid weekend of earnings too since Halloween is Saturday.
Sean Collier: Biggest story since The Hangover, Josh? I'd say biggest story of the year and more. If for no other reason, this is more or less a guide to successfully marketing a small film in the constant-feedback era, and makes the (all too rare) case for actually making films, you know, good. While Paranormal Activity's march to the top was fairly steady, I think we all subtly doubted that it would make it to #1, especially against Halloween's official franchise. This is a huge upset, and the feel-good box office story of the year.
George Rose: Frankly, I'm upset it didn't make more. People keep comparing this to Blair Witch Project but it's not. Blair Witch made more in both its first and second weekends of wide release, and that was with lower ticket prices from ten years ago. While I still expect a gross less than $100 million, nowhere near Blair Witch's $140 million, its $21 million second weekend is a success for the cheap production and made me realize two things about the current state of horror - 1) the Saw series should no longer be considered a threat to other horror wanting to open against it during Halloween, and 2) Michael Bay should be paid a lot less. Let's see him remake Nightmare on Elm Street for $11,000.