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'Paranormal Activity 3' Breaks Fall Box Office Record? Pamela Anderson Still Tops

The Adventures of Tintin, Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis (Captain Haddock), Jamie Bell (Tintin), The Adventures of Tintin

Oct 27, '11, update: Peter Jackson will direct the sequel to The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. We'll see if Jackson gets to beat the solid (early) box office results of Steven Spielberg's first film in the planned trilogy.

Partly assisted by costlier 3D tickets, The Adventures of Tintin earned $8.6 million in Belgium, France and the UK, where it opened on Wednesday (Oct. 26), following previews on Monday and Tuesday. In France, The Adventures of Tintin fared better than Toy Story 3 and the Shrek movies, and as per The Hollywood Reporter is expected to surpass $18 million by next Monday – reportedly placing its debut behind only James Cameron's Avatar among non-sequels.

Perhaps – if one chooses to ignore inflation and higher 3D ticket prices. For in terms of ticket sales in France, Tintin is trailing no less than 22 movies according to CBO-Box office (via excessif.com). On opening day, the Sony Pictures release (in non-English-language territories) sold 491.540 tickets, placing it way behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's 732,000 tickets sold earlier this year. Overall, Tintin landed smack between Gérard Krawczyk's 2003 action comedy Taxi 3, featuring Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, and an up-and-coming Marion Cotillard, and Chris Weitz's 2009 supernatural romance The Twilight Saga: New Moon, starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner. [Note: As a commenter has pointed out, I should add that Tintin opened on a Wednesday. Ah, by the way, so did Deathly Hallows 2. And New Moon. And countless other movies in France.]

Providing the French voices for The Adventures of Tintin's lead characters are Benjamin Bollen, Patrick Bethune, Gad Elmaleh, Guillaume Lebon, and Pierre Laurent. (Milou remains Milou in the French version; in the United States, Tintin's little white dog has been rebaptized Snowy.)

The Adventures of Tintin opens in the US – via Paramount – on December 25. Jamie Bell stars as Tintin; others in the cast include Daniel Craig, Toby Jones, Andy Serkis, Cary Elwes, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Daniel Mays.

The Adventures of Tintin image: Paramount Pictures.

Oct 25

Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Scary Movie 3
Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Scary Movie 3

After grossing $52.56 million over the Oct. 21-23 weekend, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's horror thriller Paranormal Activity 3 has easily surpassed the $50.35 million earned by Jackass 3D last year, thus breaking fall (actually, September and October) box office records in North America. Minor detail: there's such a thing as inflation.

The no. 3 movie on the Box Office Mojo fall chart, David Zucker's Scary Movie 3, opened with $48.11 million in October 2003. Adjusted for inflation, that translates into about $63.58 million in 2011 dollars for the comedy featuring Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Anna Faris, Simon Rex, Jeremy Piven, and Charlie Sheen. So, which movie sold more tickets, Paranormal Activity 3 or Scary Movie 3? And which one proves that audiences are and have always been hungry for original, quality movies and stories? (Answer: neither one. Jackass 3D is the unforgettable cinematic experience that proves that point once and for all.)

By the way, Scary Movie 3 isn't the only release to have sold more tickets than Paranormal Activity 3 during the fall in the U.S. and Canada. At no. 4, DreamWorks' Shark Tale took in $47.6 million in 2004, or approximately $61 million today; and at no. 12, Brett Ratner's Rush Hour, an action flick starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, drew $33 million in 1998, or about $63 million today.

Now, the actual record-breaking opening weekend in the fall – from late September to late December – is that of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which opened on November 20 (officially, “the holiday movie season”), 2009. Directed by Chris Weitz, and starring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, New Moon brought in $142.83 million, or about $151.5 million today. It's the no. 1 fall movie, inflation or no.

Scary Movie 3 picture: Dimension Films.

Oct 22

Julianne Hough, Footloose
Julianne Hough, Footloose

On Friday (Oct. 21), Craig Brewer's Footloose was ahead of last weekend's top film, Shawn Levy's Real Steel, collecting $3.47 million in second place according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com. Real Steel, which stars stars Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, and Evangeline Lilly, took in $3.1 million at no. 3. Footloose features Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, and Andie McDowell.

Aside from Paranormal Activity 3, the weekend's new wide releases turned out to be a series of implosive bombs. Distributed by Summit Entertainment – which hasn't had much luck outside the Twilight Saga franchise – Paul W.S. Anderson's 3D version of The Three Musketeers opened with $2.9 million in fourth place, and is expected to take in a mere $8-9 million by Sunday evening. Initial guesstimates placed the film's weekend take in the low teens. One of its leads, Anderson's Resident Evil collaborator Mila Jovovich, has taken to Twitter to plug the film, chastising Summit for not doing enough to promote it.

In addition to Jovovich as Milady de Winter, The Three Musketeers stars Logan Lerman, Christoph Waltz, Matthew MacFadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Mads Mikkelsen, James Corden, Orlando Bloom, and Juno Temple. Despite the prestigious cast, reviews have been mostly negative, resulting in a poor 25 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' critics.

Directed by Oliver Parker and starring Rowan Atkinson, Johnny English Reborn was expected to open between $7-8 million. Now it looks like the comedy sequel to Johnny English will be lucky if it reaches $4 million after raking in $1.14 million at the no. 8 spot on Friday. At least Johnny English Reborn has already earned $85 million abroad; in other words, a film such as this one can easily survive and prosper without the North American market. Back in 2003, Johnny English drew $28.08 million in North America and $132.5 million overseas. (Figures not adjusted for inflation.)

Figures for Tim Chambers' The Mighty Macs, which features the likes of David Boreanaz, Ellen Burstyn, and Carla Gugino, were unavailable at this time. The sports/Catholic nuns drama has a mediocre 46 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Early reports have Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene earning anywhere between $100-$120,000 for the weekend. Durkin's generally well-received thriller featuring Elizabeth Olsen is currently playing at four locations in New York and Los Angeles.

Footloose image: K. C. Bailey / Paramount Pictures.

Oct 21

Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, FootlooseAfter trailing behind Real Steel on the weekend and on Monday, Footloose topped the North American box office chart for three days in a row. Its box office rule, however, is already over, as Paranormal Activity 3 opened with an estimated $8 million at Thursday midnight screenings at 2,200 locations, according to Box Office Mojo. [Photo: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough in Footloose.]

As BOM's Ray Subers remarks, that's considerably better than Paranormal Activity 2's $6.3 million at 1,800 sites last year. Paranormal Activity 2 went on to gross $84.75 million in the U.S. and Canada and $177.51 million worldwide. The original Paranormal Activity collected $193.35 million worldwide.

Including Thursday midnight's box office take, Paranormal Activity 3 is expected to take in approximately $40 million this weekend – that would be more than any other movie at the North American box office since Rise of the Planet of the Apes on the first weekend of August. That is also proof that, as pundits everywhere affirm, audiences want original, quality movies and storylines.

Due to a lack of both originality and quality – one assumes – none of this weekend's other new releases is supposed to do good business. Distributed by Summit Entertainment, Paul W.S. Anderson's 3D version of The Three Musketeers is expected to land at no. 2, with a box office take in the low teens. One of the film's leads, Anderson's Resident Evil collaborator Mila Jovovich, has taken to Twitter to plug the film, chastising Summit for not doing enough to promote it. Despite the prestigious cast, reviews have been mostly scathing. The Three Musketeers stars Logan Lerman, Christoph Waltz, Matthew MacFadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Mads Mikkelsen, James Corden, Orlando Bloom, and Juno Temple.

Directed by Oliver Parker, and starring Rowan Atkinson, Johnny English Reborn should open between $7-8 million. The Johnny English sequel has already earned $85 million abroad. Back in 2003, Johnny English raked in $28.08 million in North America and $132.5 million overseas. (Figures not adjusted for inflation.)

As for Tim Chambers' The Mighty Macs, which features the likes of David Boreanaz, Ellen Burstyn, and Carla Gugino, it will likely bomb with less than $3 million at 975 locations. In fact, the Christian-themed sports drama could possibly end up collecting as little as a heathenish $1 million.

For the record, Footloose, directed by Craig Brewer, and starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, and Andie McDowell, has remained above the $1m-per-day mark throughout the week. Real Steel fell slightly below that mark for the first time on Wednesday (Day 13). Directed by Shawn Levy, the Disney release stars Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, and Evangeline Lilly. Footloose has raked in $20 million to date; Real Steel's cume stands at $55.9 million.

Rounding out the top five on Thursday were George Clooney-Ryan Gosling's The Ides of March ($24.25 million cume), Matthijs van Heijningen Jr-Joel Edgerton's The Thing ($10.97 million cume), and Bennett Miller-Brad Pitt's Moneyball ($59.65 million cume).

After seven days out, the Steve Martin-Jack Black-Owen Wilson comedy The Big Year has yet to reach $5 million. The Devil Wears Prada's David Frankel directed.

Footloose image: K. C. Bailey / Paramount Pictures.

Paranormal Activity 3
Paranormal Activity 3

Addendum: Last weekend, people were complaining that the North American box office has been in the doldrums throughout the fall because of a dearth of original, quality movies. Proving those pundits right – as they always are – the third installment of a cheap horror franchise, with a mediocre 60 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics, Paranormal Activity 3, has soared to the top of the box office chart and will likely beat estimates by about $10 million.

Co-directed by Catfish's Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, Paranormal Activity 3 was expected to earn around $40 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend. It'll likely take in around $50 million after pulling in $26.23 million on Friday (including $8 million from Thursday midnight screenings) as per The Hollywood Reporter. The film officially cost $5 million, but that's without marketing/distribution expenses. The previous Paranormal Activity flick, aptly titled Paranormal Activity 2, cost a reported $3 million – gee, cheap! – but Paramount spent more than $25 million on its initial push for the film.

After earning $40.67 million at 3,216 locations ($12,649 per-theater average) on its opening weekend last year, Tod Williams' Paranormal Activity 2 went on to gross $84.75 million in the U.S. and Canada and $177.51 million worldwide. After opening wide (but at only 760 locations; a phenomenal $25,813 per-theater average), the original Paranormal Activity collected $19.61 million in 2009; its worldwide cume reached $193.35 million. Oren Peli directed.

The Paranormal Activity 3 cast includes poltergeist veteran Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden, Brian Boland, and Dustin Ingram.

Paranormal Activity 3 picture: Paramount Pictures.

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5 Comments to 'Paranormal Activity 3' Breaks Fall Box Office Record? Pamela Anderson Still Tops

  1. zac

    @Simon

    My sentence wasn't clear. I knew Tintin's adventures were translated into English decades ago. (Though the additional info you provided was news to me.)

    I get your point about “Avatar,” but the number of tickets sold is a pretty clear indicator of a movie's success at the box office. Dollar figures are misleading, especially when we're talking about foreign revenues converted to US dollars…

  2. Simon

    Snowy has not been re-baptized for the film - he's been Snowy in English for the last 53 years!

    Hergé thought the name was great when it was picked by Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner for the 1958 Methuen translations, and when the Golden Press made different translations of the books for the U.S. in 1959, they were instructed to use Snowy as the dog's name, not Milou or Buddy (the Golden Press's choice, as “Snowy” was a brand of bleach at the time).

    He was so taken with it that he actually bases a joke around it in the French original of “Tintin au Tibet”: the monks describe the “little dog, with fur like morning snow”…

    As for studio spin, every and all of the movies you mention will have been spun in some way: so we can only ever guess at true success. If “Avatar” figures were adjusted to remove the proportion of the audience members who saw it based on the hype, and then thought it was a really bad movie, would there be enough interest for a sequel…? ;-)

  3. zac

    @Proman

    Although your point is well taken - I should have added that “Tintin” opened on a weekday - it's just as moronic to disregard inflation and 3D ticket costs. Or to read my post as “defeatist.”

    My chief point is that attendance was not at all mentioned in the English-language reports I read, when THAT is the true measure of a film's success.

    We'll see how well “Tintin” does once weekend figures (ticket sales) are tallied. I'm expecting it'll do quite well, though probably not nearly as well as the studio's inevitable spin would lead you to believe.

  4. Proman

    What a moronically defeatist post. Tintin opened on a WEEKDAY not a weekend like most of the other films listed. Nothing can downplay the terrific performance and staying power it will show!

  5. Marc

    Pamela Anderson will always be on top.