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Paranormal Activity 2 Box Office: No Sleeper Hit

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Paranormal Activity 2 movieParanormal Activity 2: Surefire box office hit. Several years ago, director Tod Williams dealt with demons of the inner kind in the 2004 psychological drama The Door in the Floor, starring Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, and Jon Foster.
  • Paranormal Activity 2 box office: The original entry in Paramount’s supernatural franchise in the making became 2007’s biggest sleeper hit. The heavily marketed prequel is a hit as well, but an expected one.

Paranormal Activity 2 box office: Prequel to 2007’s micro-budget sleeper hit is an expected – and heavily marketed – chart topper

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

Oct. 22–24 (pre-Halloween) weekend box office: Made on a reported $3 million budget, Paramount Pictures’ Paranormal Activity 2 grossed $40.7 million (including $6.3 million from midnight screenings – an R-rated record) from 3,216 North American (U.S. and Canada only) theaters as per final studio figures found at

Like Paramount’s Jackass 3D the weekend before, the Tod Williams-directed horror thriller far surpassed pundits’ expectations, which had ranged from $25–$30 million.

For comparison’s sake: Made for a reported $15,000 (anything is possible), the original Paranormal Activity went really wide (1,945 locations) on its sixth weekend out in late October 2007, when it earned $21.1 million (cume: $61.6 million). Written and directed by Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity would end its run with $107.9 million domestically and $85.4 million internationally. Worldwide total: $193.3 million.

Here’s another comparison: The low-budget ($60,000), independently made and distributed (via Artisan Entertainment) horror thriller The Blair Witch Project went wide on its third weekend in late July 1999, grossing $29.2 million from 1,101 locations. In 2010, that would represent approximately $45.6 million ($41,515 per theater vs. Paranormal Activity 2’s $12,648).

Marketing money well spent

Marketing costs for the Paranormal Activity prequel have reportedly hovered around $25 million – or more than eight times the movie’s production budget. Money well spent, obviously. In fact, film distributors should take a course in marketing from the flacks who sold both Paranormal Activity flicks.

With shades of Robert Wise’s The Haunting, John Hough’s The Legend of Hell House, and Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, Paranormal Acitivity 2 chronicles the travails of a family who discovers – via their recently installed video surveillance cameras – that they aren’t the only residents in their new Southern California house.

Paranormal Activity 2 has a mediocre 53 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.” In the cast: Sprague Grayden, Brian Boland, Molly Ephraim, Katie Featherston, and Micah Sloat.

Global hit – though trailing predecessor

Update: Tod Williams’ Paranormal Activity 2 ultimately collected $84.7 million domestically and $92.8 million internationally. Worldwide total: $177.5 million.

If figures are complete, that’s about $15 million less than the original but still an impressive and hugely profitable cume.

Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($17.5 million), Mexico ($8.2 million), France ($6.9 million), Australia ($6.6 million), Russia/CIS ($5.5 million), Japan ($4.9 million), Brazil ($4.2 million), Germany ($4.1 million), and Italy ($3.9 million).

Paranormal Activity 2 Box Office: No Sleeper Hit” notes

Paramount held the top two spots on this past weekend’s domestic box office chart, as Paranormal Activity 2 was followed by the previous weekend’s champ, Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass 3D ($21.3 million, down a whopping 58 percent).

Also worth noting, next weekend Paranormal Activity 2 will face some serious competition from another horror franchise flick, Saw 3D.

Unless otherwise noted, “Paranormal Activity 2 Box Office: No Sleeper Hit” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about Paranormal Activity 2 and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

Lastly, although a more accurate reflection of a film’s popularity (i.e., its number of tickets sold), inflation-adjusted estimates should be taken with extreme caution. For instance, they’re based on average domestic ticket prices (via the National Association of Theater Owners, unless otherwise noted) whereas numerous major releases scored a large chunk of their box office take at top-priced venues.

Paranormal Activity 2 movie image: Paramount Pictures.

Paranormal Activity 2 Box Office: No Sleeper Hit” last updated in October 2023.

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