Paranormal Paramount Rules Box Office
By John Hamann
October 24, 2010
So how did producer Oren Peli manage to catch lightning in a bottle not once but twice? By making two very spooky movies. People love to be scared, especially at this time of year, and despite the sequel looking a lot like the original, Paranormal Activity 2 delivered what the audience was expecting. Critics thought it worked, too. Of the 62 reviews counted at RottenTomatoes at the time of this writing, a surprising 44 were positive, giving this one a 72% fresh rating thus far. The first film was 82% fresh with 150 positive notes out of a possible 183. Horror films lately have seen good and bad reviews, but few have made any money. Let Me In was 89% fresh but opened to only $5 million. Piranha 3D was 75% fresh, but opened in sixth with just $10 million. The only successful horror flicks in the last year have been the Nightmare on Elm Street remake ($33 million opening) and The Last Exorcism ($20 million opening), but both folded fast after their first weekend, bringing only about double their opening frames over their entire runs. Paranormal Activity has brought something fresh to the horror movie market, and obviously audiences are thankful. It will be very interesting to see how the fresh scares hold up against the more stale horror (Saw 3D) next weekend.
Finishing second is Jackass 3D, last weekend's box office ice breaker. After a $50.4 million opening frame, some thought Jackass 3D might drop off heavily this weekend, and it did have a pretty hefty drop, though not as bad as it might have been. The Johnny Knoxville film delivered a gross of $21.6 million in its second frame, falling 57% from its opening frame. Even with the heavy decline, the film's second weekend total still exceeds the movie's production cost. Paramount obviously took full advantage of 3D screens prior to the opening of Saw 3D, and the studio now has a running total of $87.1 million to show for it. As much as it goes against reason, it looks like Jackass 3D has a shot at earning $120 million from domestic cinemas alone. The even better news for Paramount Pictures is that they have the number one and number two film this weekend, with a combined total of about $63 million (against combined budgets of $23 million).
Last weekend's number two film, Red, drops to third this weekend, but it has a fair hold for an action film. The Bruce Willis starrer earned $15 million in its second frame and was off 31% from its opening weekend. It's almost too bad that the $60 million Red opened against Jackass 3D and faced off against Paranormal Activity 2 in its second weekend. This is a good film (70% fresh) that is getting lost amongst more gimmicky entertainment. Regardless, Red is going to be a $75 million finisher and then live long on DVD. So far, Red has earned $43.5 million.
Fourth goes to Hereafter, the new film from director Clint Eastwood and starring Matt Damon. Despite the pedigree of director and star, Hereafter struggled with critics, and has failed to build buzz a la The Social Network. Hereafter opened at 2,181 venues this weekend and earned $12 million, slightly more than tracking was anticipating. It had a venue average of $5,504. Some critics find it boring, and the result is a 51% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. An expansion for this one feels doubtful, but we will have to see how it holds up next weekend. Hereafter feels a little like opportunity lost. For Damon, this is his third consecutive disappointment, following Invictus, The Green Zone and now Hereafter. Hopefully, the Coen's remake of True Grit will change all that.