Weekend Box Office: ‘The Devil’ Deceives

After 12 days without any nationwide openers, one finally hit the big screen this weekend. Even though it definitely didn’t deserve to (proven by its 7% Rotten Tomatoes score), the film cleaned up with record-setting numbers that put it at the top of this week’s Top 10.

The Devil Inside‘, a faux documentary about a girl researching exorcisms 20 years after her mother killed three priest during one, became the third highest January opener of all time with $34.5 million. The two films that remain above it on the chart are ‘Cloverfield‘ ($40.1 million) and the 1997 remastered reissue of ‘Star Wars: A New Hope‘ ($35.9 million).

Paramount, who acquired the film for just $1 million, is quick to take the credit for the film’s success by saying that the movie intentionally “pushed the envelope” (which you know is absolutely false if you’ve seen it). You can’t dismiss the fact that it’s the only movie to receive a nationwide opening in almost two weeks. It was destined to do well, especially considering how many people saw ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’ over the holidays.

Adding another $20.5 million to its total, ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘ has now crossed the $170 million mark domestically and is only $12 million shy of crossing the $300 million mark overseas. Combined, it’s only $40 million away from the $500 million mark. Think there will be a fifth installment?

After four weeks, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows‘ is still going strong. It landed the #3 spot with $14.1 million. Although ‘Sherlock’ isn’t pulling in ‘Mission: Impossible’ numbers, with $157 million in its domestic pocket, it’s not doing too badly either.

Although David Fincher’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘ may not bring in huge weekly numbers, the movie showed its legs this weekend with the smallest decline in attendance, down only 24% from the previous weekend. Adding another $11.3 million to its domestic run, this ‘Dragon Tattoo’ has now earned a worldwide total of $106 million from the 33 territories in which it has opened.

The weekend estimates have not yet been fully published, so it’s unclear how limited openers ‘Roadie‘, ‘Beneath the Darkness‘ and ‘Norwegian Wood‘ held up. We’ll have to wait to find out when the weekend actuals are announced this afternoon.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Devil Inside’ (Paramount) – $34.5 million

2. ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ (Paramount) – $20.5 million

3. ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ (Warner Bros.) – $14.1 million

4. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (Sony) – $11.4 million

5. ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’ (20th Century Fox) – $9.5 million

6. ‘War Horse’ (DreamWorks) – $8.6 million

7. ‘We Bought a Zoo’ (Fox) – $8.5million

8. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ (Paramount) – $6.6 million

9. ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ (Focus) – $5.8 million

10. ‘New Year’s Eve’ (Warner Bros.) – $3.3 million


  1. JM

    ‘The Devil Inside’ made 90% of its box office off high school dropouts.

    That’s a perfectly legitimate business model.

    Rotten Tomatoes is racist.

        • And? How is that racist? The movie was critically acclaimed and most likely it’s revisionist critics that brought it “down” to 79% which is still respectable on Rotten Tomatoes.

          Still not seeing your racist angle here.

          • Alex

            Isn’t Rotten Tomatoes just a mathematical aggregation? If there’s racism to be found, wouldn’t it be on the part of the critics themselves?

          • JM

            Rotten Tomatoes is racist in the same way as standardized testing.

            It’s called “institutional racism,” if you ever want to google it.

          • Alex

            Is there a solution then? The solution for standardized testing is to re-write the test to remove cultural and socioeconomic bias (whether that’s possible when standardized tests, by their very nature, establish a socially acceptable level of achievement is a debate for another day in another forum). If Rotten Tomatoes is specifically excluding critics for their totals based on the critic’s race, then definitely that should be fixed. Otherwise, the only solution seems to be to encourage more minorities to publish movie reviews. Is that fair, or am I completely off base?

            Incidentally, I’m not looking to pick a fight here, nor am I meaning to say or imply anything negative about any race, creed, religion, or culture. I really am just curious what would be a good solution to the problem.

          • JM

            I took two semesters of chinese literature at university, and spent many office hours alone with my female chinese professor, talking about eastern vs western views on the definition of excellence in storytelling.

            We came to the conclusion that cultural, gender, and intellectual differences deeply affect an audience’s potential for enjoyment and assessment of artistry.

            Rotten Tomatoes is a biased product for a niche demographic. Not only is there no solution, I would argue that it doesn’t need to be fixed.

            But it benefits us to have an awareness of its inherent institutional bias.

          • Alex

            Yes, but you see that invoking the moniker of “racist” carries with it a whole slew of nasty connotations. It’s one of the most incendiary descriptions that you can apply to something.

            Absolutely I agree that Rotten Tomatoes is biased. Movie reviews, along with any other subjective exposition, are inherently biased. They always, and should, reflect the author’s personal tastes, preferences and opinions. We tend to read them oftentimes because the reviewer’s bias matches up with our own and if the reviewer says that he/she enjoys a movie, we’re likely to do the same.

            But to call it “racism” isn’t fair to the reviewer. Expounding an opinion doesn’t mean that the reviewer is excluding others. No reviewer should be shackled into attempting to divine the preferences of every person of every possible race or creed simply so that they can avoid being considered “racist”.

  2. Ugh, I hate that teenagers are still lemmings and apparently don’t use their online time well enough to read reviews. This movie didn’t deserve to make anything from the reviews I read, and it’s the latest in a long string of Paranormal activity ripoffs. If this movie had come out at any other time it would have made about 7 million.

    This kind of crap is the “Reality TV” equivalent of filmmaking and I truly hope that it dies a lot faster than it has on TV.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Paranormal Activity films had a pretty decent hook, and while I have never seen one in the theater, I have enjoyed the two I have seen so far. The format is effective and it’s mostly due not to actually seeing anything but the build up right before something does or does not happen.

    Plus I don’t see these movies in the theater because I don’t want anybody to see me scream like a little girl. 😛