Big news at the box office this weekend, as Paranormal Activity 3 put up huge numbers, opening at number one with $54 million. That’s the biggest fall opening of all time (September and October only, besting Jackass 3), the highest opening for a horror film of all time (beating out Paranormal Activity 2), the eighth biggest opening for a prequel, and the biggest box office opening since Rise of the Planet of the Apes back in August.
There’s clearly no Paranormal Activity 2 fatigue, and what’s remarkable about the series is that it opened with $54 million on a $5 million budget. Compare that to the number four movie this weekend, Three Musketeers, which opened with $8.8 million on a $90 million budget. Someone’s doing something right, and it’s not Paul W.S. Anderson. Whatever you think of Paranormal Activity and sequels/prequels, it is a victory for low budget film, and that’s something for which we can all be grateful (it helps that I happen to like the franchise).
Speaking of prequels, the $54 million gross of Paranormal Activity puts it immediately in the top 20 for prequels of all time. However, these films have a short shelf life: Paranormal Activity 2, which opened with $40 million only made $84 million overall, and you can expect the same trajectory for the third film because they basically expire after Halloween. It will probably end up with $100 - $105 million, which is not enough to land in the top ten sequels overall.
Here’s the Top 20 Prequels of All Time.
1. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace: $431 million
2. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: $380 million
3. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones: $310 million
4. Star Trek: $257 million
5. Batman Begins: $205 million
6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine: $179 million
7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: $179 million
8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes: $175 million
9. Casino Royale: $167 million
10. X-Men: First Class: $146 million
11. Red Dragon: $93 million
12. The Scorpion King: $91 million
13. Alien Vs. Predator: $80 million
14. Paranormal Activity 3: $54 million
15. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans: $45 million
16. Exorcist: The Beginning: $41 million
17. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: $39 million
18. The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: $35 million
19. Hannibal Rising: $27 million
20. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd: $26 million
(Source: Box Office Mojo)
Speaking of Three Musketeers, do you guys remember last year when Doug Liman was briefly attached to a competing Three Musketeers movie? I think the wrong person got the go-ahead. As for other openers, Johnny English Reborn also tanked, landing at number eight with $3.8 million. But fret not, it’s already made $104 million overseas. These Johnny English movies are huge overseas, proving that America is not the only country with a weakness for stupidity. The other opener, Mighty Macs, scored a tepid $1 million, good for number 12.
There were several movies that opened in limited release, and the head of the pack was Martha Marcy May Marlene, the Oscar-contending indie starring Elizabeth Olsen. It put up $138,000 in only four theaters, while Kevin Spacey and Zachary Quinto’s Margin Call made $582,000 in 54 theaters (it also debuted on VOD). The wonderful Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey also made $25,000 in one theater.
The rest of the the box office was unexceptional: Real Steel held on to the two spot with $11 million, Footloose held to number three with $10 million, and The Ides of March rounded out the top five with $4.9 million. All three of those films are performing decently versus expectations.
Also of note, The Worst Movie Ever! continues to perform as one would expect of the worst movie ever. It made $12 this weekend, to bring its six-week total to $323. And yes, this movie does exist. The logline? “A robot alien. Angst-ridden teens. Cleavage-wielding soul takers. A dark overlord. A cross-dressing retard. A pregnant 14-year-old cougar. Macho scientists. Santa Claus. Yeah, this movie has it all.” I gotta put TK on that one.