‘Paranormal Activity 3’ Possesses New Opening Record for Fall, Horror Movies

After the “Saw” franchises bowed out last year, few people doubted that “Paranormal Activity” and its sequel last fall marked the arrival of what would fill that annual horror void. But unlike the father of the torture horror genre, which peaked at about $33 million, producer and original “PA” director Oren Peli’s baby has climbed into the record books; this weekend it scored $54 million, the largest opening for both a fall movie and a horror movie, ever.

“Paranormal Activity 3” topped previous fall record holder “Jackass 3D,” which shocked everyone with $50.3 million last year. Horror films in 2011 had posted disappointing numbers prior to this weekend, suggesting that most genre fans had their calendars marked for quite some time.

Many had specifically circled Friday, as the three-quel took in nearly half its opening weekend on Friday alone. A similar effect occurred last year with “Paranormal Activity 2,” and though it might seem like a slightly alarming trend, but the momentum for the series going forward is tremendous, and one must assume that the $25-plus million for Friday guarantees the series will continue to make at least that much once (if) audiences ever grow tired of franchise. At this rate, we are probably talking 2014 at the earliest before this would happen.

Although found footage-style horror films have not done well this year (“Apollo 18” opened with $8 million), and a similar haunted home film in “Insidious” made just $13 million, expect the copycat trend to ramp up production.

Meanwhile, “PA 3” stands to do well among horror films all time as surprisingly no horror competition enters the picture on Halloween weekend.



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