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.