Alt Film Guide
Classic movies. Gay movies. International cinema. Socially conscious & political cinema.
Home Movie NewsBox Office Paranormal Activity 2 Tops

Paranormal Activity 2 Tops

Matt Damon Hereafter
Matt Damon in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter.

Oct. 25: Tod Williams’ Paranormal Activity 2 earned nearly $1 million less than estimated this past weekend.

The horror thriller took in $40.67 million at North American screens, according to actuals found at Box Office Mojo.

Directed by Jeff Tremaine, and featuring Johnny Knoxville, Jackass 3D grossed $21.31 million at no. 2.

At no. 3, Robert Schwentke’s comedy-actioner Red, starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman, brought in $15.03 million.

At no. 4, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, featuring Matt Damon, Cécile De France, and Bryce Dallas Howard, collected $12.01 million.

In fifth place, David Fincher’s The Social Network, featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Rooney Mara, scored $7.27 million.

At no. 6, Diane Lane’s Secretariat drew $7 million.

Next in line were the Katherine Heigl-Josh Duhamel-Josh Lucas comedy Life As We Know It with $6.13 million at no. 7, and Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole with $3.24 million at no. 8.

Rounding out the top twelve were Ben Affleck-Jeremy Renner-Jon Hamm’s The Town with $2.74 million, Emma Stone’s Easy A with $1.74 million, Oliver Stone-Michael Douglas-Shia LaBeouf’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with $1.24 million, Wes Craven-Max Thieriot’s My Soul to Take with $1.07 million.

Note that Easy A and Money Never Sleeps switched positions once actuals were released.

Among the – mostly quite strong – top-twelve holdovers (not including Hereafter, which went from 6 to 2,181 theaters), Legend of the Guardians posted the lowest weekend-to-weekend drop-off rate, down 23 percent.

Also among the top twelve, Paranormal Activity 2 had by far the highest per-theater average, $12,649 (including late-Thursday screenings), followed by Jackass 3D‘s $6,851 and Hereafter‘s $5,510. My Soul to Take had the lowest, $635.

Oct. 24: Made on a reported $3 million, Tod Williams’ Paranormal Activity 2 far surpassed pundits’ expectations (ranging $25-30 million), taking in an estimated $41.5 million on opening weekend (including $6.3 million from late-night Thursday screenings) in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Paranormal Activity 2, which has a mediocre 53 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ “Top Critics,” averaged $12,904 (including Thursday screening) at 3,216 locations.

Looking at Box Office Mojo’s daily chart, Paranormal Activity 2 was down a whopping 35.2 percent on Saturday – but that’s because Friday’s take included the aforementioned $6.3 million from Thursday screenings. Without that extra bonus, Friday and Saturday figures remained steady.

For comparison’s sake: Back in 1999, The Blair Witch Project went wide on its third weekend, grossing $29.2 million at 1,101 theaters, averaging $26,528 per venue. In 2010 dollars, that would translate into approximately $45.6 million and $41,515 per theater.

Not adjusted for inflation, Paranormal Activity 2 boasts the fifth ever biggest Fall opening, after four scary-sounding flicks: Jackass 3D, Scary Movie 3, Shark Tale, and High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

Marketing costs for the Paranormal Activity sequel/prequel have reportedly hovered around $25 million – or more than 8 times the film’s production budget. Money well spent, obviously.

In fact, film distributors/marketers should take courses from the people who sold both Paranormal Activity movies – and Jackass 3D, too, of course.

Tod Williams’ Paranormal Activity 2 is the “supernatural horror movie” with the biggest opening ever in North America, according to Box Office Mojo’s Brandon Gray.

As per studio estimates, the Paranormal Activity sequel took in $20.1 million on Friday (including $6.3 million at Thursday midnight screenings), thus surpassing The Ring Two‘s $14.8 million (unadjusted for inflation) back in 2005. (It’s unclear whether The Ring Two‘s Friday take includes any late-night Thursday screenings.)

Directed by Jeff Tremaine, and featuring Johnny Knoxville, Jackass 3D collected $7.57 million at no. 2. The low-brow comedy has already passed the acclaimed The Social Network at the domestic box office: $73.17 million vs. $67.9 million.

Directed by Jeff Tremaine, and featuring Johnny Knoxville and numerous idiotic stunts, early fall sensation Jackass 3D pulled in another $21.6 million ($6,943 per theater) at no. 2 in North America, as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Despite a seemingly steep 57.4 percent drop – remember, last weekend’s earnings included late-Thursday screenings – the $20 million no-brow comedy has already grossed $87.14 million in ten days. By next Friday, Jackass 3D will in all likelihood have crossed the $100 million milestone.

Down one spot at no. 3, Robert Schwentke’s comedy-actioner Red, starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman, brought in $4.53 million. Cost: $58 million.

Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, which, like Paranormal Activity 2 also deals with death – but in a radically different manner – brought in $4.13 million at 2,181 venues, or a good – but hardly spectacular – $1,896 per theater. Hereafter stars Matt Damon. Cost: 50 million.

I should note that Hereafter has a so-so 64 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics, versus only 51 percent among all of RT’s critics – whose tastes apparently veer more toward Jackass 3D, which garnered a 63 percent approval rating overall (but only 31 percent among RT’s top critics).

For comparison’s sake:

Eastwood’s Invictus, which starred Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, opened with $8.61 million late last year. The South African-set political/sentimental drama went on to gross only $37.4 million domestically, but a remarkable $84.74 million overseas.

In 2008, Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, collected $9.35 million on its first wide weekend. Changeling eventually took in $35.73 million in North America, in addition to a solid $77.28 million overseas.

Unlike the aforementioned two efforts, Eastwood’s Gran Torino, whose poster featured the star-director holding a weapon about twice his size, did quite well in North America.

Gran Torino collected $29.48 million on its first wide weekend, cuming at $148.09 million domestically in addition to $121.86 million overseas – where, relatively speaking, big guns apparently aren’t as much of a box office magnet.

Warner Bros. should have learned from that. For the American Hereafter poster, Matt Damon should have been pictured holding a mountain-sized bazooka. Tagline: “Damon will dispatch you to the Hereafter.”

I guarantee you that had the WB marketing people had such foresight, this weekend Hereafter would have earned more than Paranormal Activity 2‘s $41.5 million.

Down two spots in fifth place, David Fincher’s The Social Network, featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Rooney Mara, drew $2.27 million. Cost: $40-50 million.

If the studio’s calculations are correct, then Paranormal Activity 2 has smashed a couple of records (not adjusted for inflation): highest midnight gross for an R-rated film, thus surpassing last year’s Watchmen ($4.6 million), and best October midnight opening – inflation doesn’t play a role here because the previous record holder was Johnny Knoxville’s Jackass 3D, which took in $2.5 million a mere week ago.

Paranormal Activity‘s wide-release opening generated $21.1 million in ticket sales. Paranormal Activity 2 is expected to gross considerably more than that.

The sequel was directed by Tod Williams. Oren Peli wrote and directed the original.

In the preceding paragraph, two horror movies are listed: one at the very top; one at the very bottom. Just a week ago, people were talking about the lack of appeal of horror flicks. But Paranormal Activity 2 has shown that the problem lies not with the genre – or even with the (generally low) quality of the films – but in how they’re marketed.

Matt Damon Hereafter image: Ken Regan / Warner Bros.

Recommended for You

Leave a Comment

*IMPORTANT*: By using this form you agree with Alt Film Guide's storage and handling of your data (e.g., your IP address). Make sure your comment adds something relevant to the discussion: Feel free to disagree with us, but *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive, inflammatory, spammy/self-promotional, baseless (spreading mis- or disinformation), and just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Lastly, links found in submitted comments will generally be deleted.


risot -

Hereafter finished its run with $32 million in North America.

risot -

I think Clint Eastwood is an overrated director, while Matt Damon is an underrated actor. Eastwood has too many Oscar nominations and wins, while Damon has too few.

zac -

Thanks for writing, but I disagree.

I don’t believe Warner Bros. was expecting a $30m opening for a (non-horror) movie about death and the afterlife. And a $12m opening will quite likely take “Hereafter” above the $50m mark.

Add foreign revenues — if “Hereafter” follows the pattern of Eastwood’s recent movies, it’ll make much more money overseas — and then ancillary revenues on top of that, and “Hereafter” will quite possibly end up in the black.

Destroyer -

You’re wrong about Hereafter. It is a flop. The budget was $50 mil and they probably spent more than that on marketing. Add Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon both being A-listers and the flop seems even more pronounced. Damon couldn’t afford another flop this year. All of his movies have done poorly. He may need to do like his buddy, Affleck, and get back behind the camera.

Gran Torino was also rated R and included tougher subject matter, but it still made more money than the PG-13 Hereafter. Movies that critics love like Never Let Me Go and Conviction are doing awful while films like the $3 mil budget Paranormal Activity 2 and the $20 mil+ budget Jackass 3D make huge profits.

Red was a smart move for Summit. The foreign pre-sales paid for the budget. That meant they only spent money on advertising which I’ve read was around $20 million. It’s not like they needed the cash anyway. Their cow, The Twilight saga, keeps them flush with cash.


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue browsing, that means you've accepted our Terms of Use/use of cookies. You may also click on the Accept button on the right to make this notice disappear. Accept Read More