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Box office report: 'Paranormal Activity 4' possesses top spot with $30.2 million despite scary underperformance

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First the good news: Paramount’s $5 million found footage horror sequel Paranormal Activity 4 easily led the box office with $30.2 million in its first three days.

Now for the bad news: That’s 43 percent less (i.e. $22.4 million less) than Paranormal Activity 3 earned in its debut frame, and 26 percent less ($10.5 million) than Paranormal Activity 2 managed.

Fortunately for Paramount, the tiny cost of the Paranormal films still make them highly profitable, but the sharp drop off from PA3 to PA4 could spell trouble for the franchise. Paranormal Activity 4, which received a “C” CinemaScore grade from polled audiences, has received the worst reviews of any entry in the series, yet Paramount chose to open it earlier than its predecessors. The film was released on Thursday night at 9 p.m. — PA2 and PA3 opened at midnight — and perhaps negative word-of-mouth spread faster and earlier, thus limiting its weekend prospects. Also making matters difficult was direct competition from Sinister, the similarly themed horror title that opened to $18 million last weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Paranormal Activity 4' scares up $15 million on Friday; 'Argo' holds in second

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Paranormal Activity 4 may have led the box office on Friday, but it got off to a much slower start than its two most recent predecessors.

Based on midnight showings (well, technically 9:00 pm showings) alone, it was clear that PA4 was headed for a lower-than expected opening frame. The found footage horror film took in $4.5 million on Thursday night, far less than Paranormal Activity 3, which grossed $8 million at midnight on the way to a $52.6 million debut, and Paranormal Activity 2, which earned $6.3 million at midnight on the way to $40.2 million.

Paranormal Activity 4 grossed an estimated $15.0 million on Friday (that includes Thursday night grosses), and since front-loaded horror sequels typically earn about half of their opening weekends on their first Friday (PA3 earned $26.3 million on Friday; PA2 found $20.1 million), the poorly-reviewed film could be looking at a $30 million weekend. While that’s enough to easily win the weekend — not to mention a terrific start for a film that cost Paramount only $5 million — it’s also a rather distressing figure, which suggests that audiences’ interest in the franchise is quickly waning. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Paranormal Activity 4' will haunt the No. 1 spot

As Halloween approaches, the box office is looking frighteningly good.

After three straight weekends of terrific results (thanks to Hotel Transylvania and Taken 2), Paranormal Activity 4 is entering the fray and eyeing a hefty debut. Tyler Perry thriller (yep, you read that right) Alex Cross will also open, and multiple holdovers are set to finish in the double-digit range.

Basically, it should be a busy frame. Here how it might shake out:

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'Alex Cross' trailer: Tyler Perry turns action star -- VIDEO

The trailer for Alex Cross, the James Patterson adaptation in which Tyler Perry assumes the titular detective role made famous by Morgan Freeman (Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider) has arrived. Watch it below. It also features Lost‘s Matthew Fox as the sadistic killer Cross is chasing.  READ FULL STORY

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