Weekend Wrap-Up

Devil Inside Launches 2012 Box Office

By John Hamann

January 8, 2012

I whip my hair back and forth.

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The 2012 box office got off to an insane start this weekend – literally – as the only true opener, Paramount's ultra low-budget pickup, The Devil Inside, did some goofy business. Also on tap are the holiday leftovers, as a number of high-profile films are continuing to try to at least match their domestic box office to their production budgets. The story of the weekend, though, is The Devil Inside, as it has one of the biggest horror debuts outside of the Paranormal Activity franchise.

When I heard Friday morning that The Devil Inside had done $2 million in midnight screenings, my first thought was disbelief, thinking they wouldn't screen this piece of dung the night before. It was true, though. Paramount earned twice the amount they picked this one up for (it supposedly cost the studio “less that one million”) before opening day dawned. It was a sign of trouble for 2012 – an omen – as kids across North America lost their minds and trekked out to see it this weekend (despite the hard R rating). On Saturday morning, we learned that the Devil got Inside the minds of $16.9 million worth of ticket buyers on Friday alone. With the midnight screenings included, that $16.9 million gross gave The Devil Inside the eighth biggest day ever in the month of January, and as the single day, it earned just slightly more than the original Sherlock Holmes earned on January 1, 2010. Apocalypse Now might have been a better title.


Thankfully, and as expected, The Devil Inside couldn't keep it up all weekend. The cheap, 7% fresh Devil finished the weekend with a surprising total of $34.5 million, embarrassing industry tracking, which had predicted a weekend of $8-10 million for the horror flick. The Devil Inside was released to only 2,285 venues, so it had a kick-ass venue average of $15,098. While not in the opening weekend realm of Paranormal Activity 2 or 3 ($40.7 million and $52.6 million respectively), remember that Devil cost 80% less than PA3 and 66% less than PA2. The gross here does take me back a few years to when horror was the big thing. It is reminiscent of The Grudge ($39.1 million opening) and The Ring Two ($35.1 million). This result is bigger than any opening weekend the Saw franchise ever put up (the highest was Saw III, which took in $33.6 million), and more than Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has earned over any three-day weekend. Before you run out and see it just because everyone else is, please note that The Devil Inside is supposed to have one of the most ridiculous, laughable endings ever for a horror film.

Finishing second is Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, as the Tom Cruise actioner spends it first day outside of top spot since going wide on December 23rd. Ghost Protocol earned a still-solid $20.5 million, dropping a decent 30%. The fourth Mission: Impossible cemented itself as a $200 million domestic earner, as it improved on the $15 million estimate box office observers were expecting this weekend. Made for $145 million, this Mission is going to be a large success for Paramount, which has the top two films this weekend, and three movies in the top ten (Tintin being the third). MI4 is also approaching the $300 million mark overseas. The question now is whether or not this Mission can beat Mission: Impossible 2, which earned $215 million domestically, and $330 million overseas. For Tom Cruise, MI4 will have to work pretty hard throughout January if it has a shot at being the star's biggest grosser of his career, as War of the Worlds earned $234 million domestically. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol now has a domestic gross so far of $170.2 million.

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