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Weekend Estimates: Paranormal Activity Knocks Saw from its Throne

October 25th, 2009

Over the past six years, the Saw Franchise has dominated the horror box office over Halloween, scoring four consecutive $30 million-plus openings. The last four episodes were also the top-grossing films for Lionsgate each year, helping the studio earn a solid 3% market share, after years picking up less than 1% of the total US box office. This weekend, however, the franchise took a body blow, thanks to a terrific guerrilla marketing campaign from Paramount that took Paranormal Activity to an estimated $22 million weekend in 1,945 theaters, and pushed Saw VI into second place with a disappointing $14.8 million (the worst opening weekend for the franchise).

The low budget for Saw VI means that the movie will most likely still end up making a profit, but the future of the franchise looks in doubt. Paranormal Activity, meanwhile, is marching towards being one of the most profitable movies of all time, in terms of return on investment.

Elsewhere this weekend, three risky new releases all failed to connect with audiences. Astro Boy scored an estimated $7.017 million for Summit (which will have the consolation of a massive opening for New Moon in a few weeks); Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant performed at the same level, picking up $6.348 million for Universal, and Fox Searchlight will be disappointed with Amelia's $4.025 million debut, although that at least came with a per theater average of close to $5,000, which might be enough for it to stick around for a few weeks.

- Weekend Estimates

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Saw VI, Paranormal Activity, Astro Boy, Amelia