Paranormal Activity 2 delivered the highest-grossing opening weekend ever for a supernatural horror movie, while the other new supernaturally-themed entry,Hereafter, had a quieter launch. Overall business was up nearly 12 percent from the same weekend last year, when the first Paranormal Activity led.
Haunting approximately 4,500 screens at 3,216 locations,Paranormal Activity 2 drew $40.7 million, topping The Grudge’s $39.1 million for supernatural supremacy in first weekend gross (though it ranked seventh in estimated attendance). The first Paranormal Activity opened nearly 13 months ago but had a slow roll-out into nationwide release. Its biggest single weekend was its fifth, generating $21.1 million at 1,945 locations.
Paranormal Activity 2 displayed better staying power than the oft-compared Blair Witch movies: it’s already retained 38 percent of its predecessor’s $107.9 million gross, while Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2’s total retention of The Blair Witch Project was a mere 19 percent. It’s also better off than The Grudge 2 versus the first Grudge. In its marketing, the Paranormal sequel stayed true to its predecessor’s “found footage” format (which Blair Witch abandoned for its sequel), a style that’s worked with recent titles like Cloverfield, Quarantine and The Last Exorcism.
With its Friday gross accounting for 49 percent of its weekend gross, Paranormal Activity 2 had the most Friday-loaded opening weekend on record for a horror movie. Nearly all other horror movies with similar Friday shares failed to double their opening weekend grosses in heir final tallies, suggesting that Paranormal Activity 2 will have a quick flame-out and make less than its predecessor. Given the checkered history of supernatural horror sequels, though, simply retaining most of the first movie’s audience would put Paranormal Activity 2 firmly in the win column. The movie’s Friday included $6.3 million from its heavily-promoted midnight debut at around 1,800 locations, which not only broke Jackass 3-D’s October midnight record ($2.5 million) but the R-rated midnight record formerly held by Watchmen ($4.55 million). Paranormal Activity 2 also played at 151 IMAX venues, which contributed an estimated $2.5 million to the weekend tally. Distributor Paramount Pictures’ exit polling indicated that 54 percent of the audience was female and 61 percent was under 25 years old.
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