While it’s true that in most cases people root for the underdog, it’s still a bit hard to believe how dramatically Paranormal Activity toppled reigning October box office champ Saw‘s sixth installment. But numbers don’t lie, and although Saw VI is considered by many (including yours truly) to be the best entry in the series in quite some time, it still wasn’t enough to stop the little juggernaut that could, Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity.
**UPDATE:** To update Variety‘s weekend estimates, we got final numbers from Box Office Mojo: Paramount’s Paranormal Activity easily took down Saw VI in grossing $21,104,070 from 1,945 theaters to win the weekend and finish with an eye-popping cume of $61,580,588 in its fifth frame. Saw VI [which came in at #2] opened to $14,118,444 from 3,036 theaters–less than half the opening gross of the previous four films in the horror franchise. It also came in below the original Saw, which opened just north of $18 million.
Wow. Just wow.
**UPDATE:** The LA Times spoke with Paramount Chairman Brad Grey today, who said, “We have the rights on a worldwide basis to do ‘Paranormal 2′ and we’re looking to see if that makes some sense.” Grey believes the original is on track to gross more than $100 million domestically. That would make it the most profitable film for Paramount since he took over in 2005 and, quite possibly, in the studio’s history.
But lest they move too quickly, let’s not forget that producing follow-ups to low-cost movies that unexpectedly capture the nation’s attention can be difficult, however, making a “Paranormal” sequel a potentially perilous task for the studio. “Book of Shadows,” the 2000 follow-up to 1999’s indie horror phenomenon “The Blair Witch Project,” was very poorly received and grossed just $26.4 million domestically, compared to $140.6 million for the original.
As for Universal’s Halloween entry Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, [produced for $40 million, it] grossed $6,293,205 from 2,754 runs to place No. 7, just above The Stepfather at No. 8 with $6,230,969. Zombieland hung tough at No. 10, adding another $4,205,812 to its previous earnings for a total of $67,213,384.
The main competition next weekend will be from Michael Jackson and all his demons (we recommend The House of the Devil if its limited release brings it nearby), but the real action is on November 6th, when The Box, The Fourth Kind, and A Christmas Carol all face down this week’s champ … and each other.
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