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Box Office Update 10/9-10/11: Paranormal Activity Wins the Weekend (Yes, You Read That Right)

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Yes, you read that title right. This weekend's big winner was Paranormal Activity. The funny thing about that is that it was the number four movie. It may not have made the most money, but it is the biggest success story in recent memory. It is bigger than Taken, Paul Blart, and The Hangover, in my estimation. Yes, those are only a few recent box office surprises, but I think you have an idea of what I am getting at. Couples Retreat may be the name next to the number one; it may have the biggest number to the right of it, but it was far from the shot in the arm that Paranormal Activity has, at least temporarily, provided.

A few weeks ago, this little film was released in very limited fashion to midnight showings only. It proved  a success and was granted a full limited release through AMC. It is in this limited release that the film has exploded. Buzz has been building across the Internet and it appears to be actually paying off . At a mere 160 locations, it pulled in a staggering $7.9 million. A rather impressive figure, considering the number of theaters and the movie's humble beginnings.

It is quite special to watch the success Paranormal Activity. Due to the buzz and a campaign to gauge interest, the film is going wide next weekend. Everyone, go out and support the film. This is a quality film that is breath of fresh air and helps show there is life outside the Hollywood system. This movie was made for a mere $11,000 in two weeks—in the director's home. If that is not something worth applauding, I don't know what is.

Now, back to the actual top of the chart. Couples Retreat won the weekend by a large margin, taking in more than $34 million. This relationship comedy has its moments but it feels a lot like a sitcom. Despite the recognizable faces that we have enjoyed in other projects, they are just passing through here. I suspect it will have a successful run, but it could have been so much better.

Dropping to second place is last week's big winner, Zombieland. It fell 40% from its initial frame, and I think that is a pretty good showing. Generally, I would expect a movie like this to have a steeper percentage dip. I guess that is a testament to how good this horror-comedy is and the strength of its word of mouth. For the record, I loved it and recommend it without hesitation.

Continue down the line and you will find Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. This animated film is on the cusp of the century mark and it is likely to do so sometime during the week. This adaptation is not a film I felt the need to see, but after positive word of mouth I decided to check it out. I was pleased to find a fun movie, it is definitely worth the time.

The rest of the chart is pretty solid, nothing terribly surprising. All of them had solid showings, none of them offering up good stories. Still, there are some good movies out there, make sure you give them a shot.

Next week Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx go toe to toe in Law Abiding Citizen, while a couple of young adults have to deal with the evil of The Stepfather, finally we will see if Spike Jonze can show us Where the Wild Things Are.

Two movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Informant! (11) and Love Happens (13).

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N Couples Retreat $34,286,740 $34,286,740 1
2 1 Zombieland $14,802,431 $47,603,512 2
3 2 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $11,527,480 $95,778,436 4
4 20 Paranormal Activity $7,900,695 $9,113,936 3
5 3 Toy Story 1 & 2 3D $7,766,643 $22,768,991 2
6 4 Surrogates $4,268,314 $32,725,781 3
7 5 The Invention of Lying $3,339,263 $12,295,868 2
8 6 Whip It $2,827,512 $8,793,570 2
9 8 Capitalism: A Love Story $2,630,292 $9,025,483 3
10 7 Fame (2009) $2,543,067 $20,028,829 3

Box Office Predictions Recap
I was so close to knocking this one right out of the park. I was nearly spot on with the gross predictions. My one blemish, money-wise, was with Couples Retreat. I figured it would do well, but I did not think it would crack the $30 million mark. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. What surprised me the most is the film I did not figure as a contender that actually finished fourth, Paranormal Activity.

Here is how the field matched up:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
1 1 Couples Retreat $34,286,740 $24 million
2 2 Zombieland $14,802,431 $14 million

3

3 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $11,527,480 $9 million
5 4 Toy Story 1 & 2 3D $7,766,643 $7.5 million
6 5 Surrogates $4,268,314

$4.5 million

7 6 The Invention of Lying $3,339,263 $3.5 million
8 7 Whip It $2,827,512 $3 million
10 8 Fame (2009) $2,543,067 $2.25 million
9 9 Capitalism: A Love Story $2,630,292 $2 million
11 10 The Informant! $2,204,286 $1.75 million

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