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Weekend Box Office: Double Disappointment

What a sad weekend for the two wide releases. Let this be a lesson to the studios behind them: Yes, you can make too many sequels in a franchise, and most of us are smart enough to stay away from horrible-looking prequels.

Paranormal Activity 4‘ may have opened at #1, but it was down more than $20 million from last year’s ‘Paranormal Activity 3‘. Still, the $5 million horror film pulled in an estimated $30.2 million. That means that Paramount will give us a ‘Paranormal 5′ whether we want it or not. Sixth place ‘Sinister‘ dropped 50% in attendance, but its $9 million second week held up much better than expected against the competing found-footage flick.

Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo‘ held tight at #2, dropping only 14.6% from its debut weekend. Box Office Mojo points out that this is “the best hold ever for a live-action movie in over 3,000 theaters that’s released outside of November and December (when holiday weekends skew results).” The $16.6 million weekend for ‘Argo’ brings its 10-day total up to $43.1 million and places it ahead of Affleck’s previous directorial effort, ‘The Town‘.

Moving up from #4 last week to #3 now was ‘Hotel Transylvania‘. With a $13.5 million weekend and $119 million in the bank after four weeks, ‘Transylvania’ is on track to become Sony Pictures Animation’s biggest film to date. Why the three-week-old ‘Frankenweenie‘ couldn’t overthrow it at the box office is beyond me.

The two-week first-place king ‘Taken 2‘ may have dropped all the way to fourth place, but pushed past the $100 million mark in less than 17 days. Nobody expects its domestic total to match the $145 million that the original ‘Taken‘ earned, but the $174 million than ‘Taken 2′ has grossed overseas is very impressive.

Just like last week’s ‘Here Comes the Boom’, Tyler Perry’s ‘Alex Cross‘ opened in the fifth spot. The $11.7 million debut marks the worst opening ever for a Tyler Perry film. It’s also worth noting that the other two movies featuring the Alex Cross character, ‘Kiss the Girls’ and ‘Along Came a Spider’, both opened better than ‘Alex Cross’ – and those were in 1997 and 2001, respectively.

Fox Searchlight’s ‘The Sessions‘ opened just as strongly as expected. On just four screens, the John Hawkes/Helen Hunt drama earned $121,000, for a $30,250 per-screen average.

Sadly, the early estimates for the rest of this weekend’s indie titles haven’t yet been announced.

Top 10:

1. ‘Paranormal Activity 4′ (Paramount) – $30,200,000

2. ‘Argo’ (Warner Bros.) – $16,625,000

3. ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (Sony) – $13,500,000

4. ‘Taken 2′ (Fox) – $13,400,000

5. ‘Alex Cross’ (Summit) – $11,750,000

6. ‘Sinister’ (Summit) – $9,030,000

7. ‘Here Comes the Boom’ (Sony) – $8,500,000

8. ‘Pitch Perfect’ (Universal) – $7,009,000

9. ‘Frankenweenie’ (Buena Vista) – $4,434,000

10. ‘Looper’ (TriStar) – $4,200,000

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