October 25, 2010

Box Office Wrap-Up: 'Paranormal Activity 2' scares up the top spot, 'Hereafter' trails behind

The spooky bedroom of Paranormal Activity 2.
Courtesy: Paramount Pictures
It was a good time to be scared: Paranormal Activity 2, the sequel to last year's budget horror phenomenon, carried the weekend comfortably with $41.5 million, the biggest opening ever for the horror genre. This comes pretty unsurprisingly. The weekend before Halloween is traditionally when the cinematic ghosties and goblins come out, so most predictions sided with the spooky crowd-pleaser taking the top spot. The second installment was granted middling reviews, with most reports pointing out that the movie didn't bring anything dramatically different to the table from its predecessor. Predictability isn't always a bad thing when it comes to franchises; Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times put it best when he called Paranormal Activity 2 "more of the same, for all the good and acceptably routine that that implies".

This weekend's other major release was the Clint Eastwood-directed Hereafter, which debuted at fourth place with twelve million under its belt. The meditative take on death, loss, and the afterlife didn't spark as much of a fire at the box office as the more scare-oriented Paranormal Activity 2. Overall reviews for the Matt Damon drama weren't much better than PA2, either, but Hereafter definitely found some critics who championed it. Roger Ebert was touched by the viewing experience, saying that Hereafter manages its subject matter with "tenderness, beauty and a gentle tact". Once Halloween weekend is over, Hereafter seems more likely to hang in there than a straight-up horror flick, as word of mouth will most likely work in its favor.

Jokey actioner Red slid down to third place this weekend after making at splash in second place last week. The pranksters behind Jackass 3-D must be pretty pleased with the film's showing, as the adrenaline-fueled sequel stayed strong in its new second place spot, raking in more than twenty-one million dollars this weekend.

As for the rest: critical darling The Social Network hung in there at fifth place and $7.3 million, with equestrienne biopic Secretariat clocking in not so far behind in sixth. Katherine Heigl vehicle Life as We Know It garnered six million more dollars and a seventh place spot, and Legend of the Guardians landed at eighth. The CGI family flick should enjoy its place in the top ten while it lasts, as there are a few major children's releases coming up in the next few weeks waiting to swoop in. Once Megamind and the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows show up, they'll be poised to steal both the money and the spotlight.

Here's the Top Ten:

  1. Paranormal Activity 2 -$41.5 million
  2. Jackass 3-D - $21.6 million
  3. Red - $15 million
  4. Hereafter - $12 million
  5. The Social Network - $7.3 million
  6. Secretariat - $6.9 millon
  7. Life as We Know It - $6.1 million
  8. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - $3.1 million
  9. The Town - $2.7 million
  10. Easy A - $1.7 million
Tells us, what movie did you see this weekend?

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