Monday, October 26, 2009

'Paranormal Activity' slays 'Saw' with $22 million at Box Office


"Paranormal Activity" has won a weekend battle of fright films over part six of the "Saw" franchise. The upstart chiller "Paranormal Activity" went into nationwide release and took over the No. 1 spot with $22 million. That compares to just $14.8 million for the debut of "Saw VI," a franchise that has been an annual Halloween fixture since 2004.

It was the worst opening ever for Lionsgate's "Saw" series, whose previous low was $18.3 million for the original movie. Subsequent installments of the "Saw" franchise all opened at $30 million or better.

This time, horror fans simply gravitated toward "Paranormal Activity" instead of "Saw VI."

"`Paranormal' ate their lunch," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "There's no other way to explain it."

After four weeks in narrower release, distributor Paramount slotted "Paranormal Activity" into 1,945 theaters. That still was just under two-thirds of the 3,036 theater count for "Saw VI."

"Paranormal Activity" raised its total haul to $62.5 million. The low-budget movie was shot for a reported $15,000 but has become a horror sensation because of online fan buzz.

The previous weekend's No. 1 movie, the Warner Bros. tale "Where the Wild Things Are," fell to No. 3, just behind "Saw VI" with $14.4 million. Spike Jonze's adaptation of the beloved children's book by Maurice Sendak raised its total to $54 million.

Among other wide releases, Summit Entertainment's "Astro Boy" opened at No. 6 with $7 million, Universal's "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" debuted at No. 8 with $6.3 million and Fox Searchlight's "Amelia" premiered at No. 11 with $4 million.