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Box Office Update 10/23-10/25: Saw Feels the Sting of Paranormal Activity

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Is there anyone out there who believed the top two films would end up in this order? I suspect there are few to none who did. I feel very certain that there are probably a lot of horror fans who were hoping it would wind up like this but dared not dream it would actually happen. Ever since the first Saw surprised audiences, the series has been a rock year in and year out. To this point each of the sequels pulled in more than $30 million in their opening weekend, then this happened. Saw VI failed to even top the $18 million of the original film. On the other hand, it is great to see Paranormal Activity doing as well as it is.

Paranormal Activity has been marketed perfectly by Paramount. The slow burn of its release has paid off. Hype built and built and its release has widened along with the hype. The film is uber-creepy and shows how effective a film can be when it plays with your mind rather than splattering everything across the screen. It will be interesting to see just how far they can take it.

As for Saw? Well, could the aging series be showing some chinks in its armor? Is its Halloween dominance nearing an end? Could the lackluster fifth entry have caused this dip to occur? Or could it just be the one off effect of a cinematic phenomenon known as Paranormal Activity. Of course, this Saw is actually good, one of the better sequels. Perhaps word of mouth will help it out in coming weeks. It will be interesting to see if it has legs in coming weeks and if this showing will have an effect on the already announced part seven (in 3D, no less).

Where the Wild Things Are took a 57% hit in its second weekend out. I cannot say it was unexpected, but maybe a little disappointing. The movie is a masterstroke of storytelling that does lean a bit more towards the art house than the mainstream.

Two other new releases joined our top films this week. Neither one did so well, finishing sixth and seventh. First, Astro Boy, the adaptation of the original anime series. The film is better than its take would indicate. Right behind it is The Vampire's Assistant, which has not had a very warm reception from critics.

It appears that the studios all got cold feet when it comes to going head to head with Halloween, so when Friday rolls around there will be no new movies entering wide release. In fact, the only new title that you will be able to see nationwide is the Michael Jackson documentary, This Is It, which opens on Wednesday. It is not a movie high on my list to see, but I may give it a peek, otherwise it will be time to catch up on some movies I haven't seen yet.

Three films dropped off the list this week: Toy Story & Toy Story 2 3D (13), The Invention of Lying (15), and Surrogates (17).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 3 Paranormal Activity $21,104,070 $61,580,588 5
2 N Saw VI $14,118,444 $14,118,444 1
3 1 Where the Wild Things Are $14,019,406 $53,558,981 2
4 2 Law Abiding Citizen $12,403,888 $40,008,703 2
5 4 Couples Retreat $10,620,685 $77,736,885 3
6 N Astro Boy $6,702,923 $6,702,923 1
7 N The Vampire's Assistant $6,293,205 $6,293,205 1
8 5 The Stepfather (2009) $6,230,969 $20,082,652 2
9 6 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $5,250,541 $114,854,877 6
10 7 Zombieland $4,205,812 $67,213,384 4

Box Office Predictions Recap
Easily the worst weekend I have had in awhile, but that's all right. I will be able to come through this with flying colors, none the worse for wear. Why? Because I doubt anyone picked the order of films correctly for this weekend past. Many of us hoped for the top two films to wind up this way, but none dared believe it would actually happen. As for the rest of my guesses, I am most saddened by the under performance of Astro Boy. For all of its faults, it is a rather entertaining film.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction

Title Wknd Gross Prediction
2 1 Saw VI $14,118,444 $27 million
1 2 Paranormal Activity $21,104,070 $22 million
3

3 Where the Wild Things Are $14,019,406 $18 million
6 4 Astro Boy $6,702,923 $13 million
4 5 Law Abiding Citizen $12,403,888 $11 million

7 6 The Vampire's Assistant $6,293,205 $10 million
5 7 Couples Retreat $10,620,685 $9.5 million
9 8 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $5,250,541 $5 million
8 9 The Stepfather (2009) $6,230,969 $4.5 million
10 10 Zombieland $4,205,812 $3.5 million

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