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Weekend Box Office: The Devil Made Audiences Do It

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By Chris Kavan - 01/08/12 at 09:16 PM CT

Despite some harsh critical reviews and ambiguous audience reaction, The Devil Inside joins Insidious and Paranormal Activity in being another low-budget horror film that hits it big.

Now, I'm not saying the film is going to perform as well over time as those films, but the $34.5 million opening the movie scared up is good enough for the third-best January opening ever (behind Cloverfield's $40.1 million and the re-release of Star Wars $35..9 million). Now surprisingly, the movie was incredibly front-loaded, as happens often with horror films, taking in 49% of its grosses Friday. Even if the movie suffers from a precipitous drop off next week, the fact it only cost $1 million to make means it's already a certified hit, no matter how horrible the ending might be.

Dropping to second place, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol took in $20.5 million and now stands at $170.2 million. Down just 30%, the film should surpass the original film's $181 million this week and even has a chance to catch up to M:I II's $215.4 million to become the top-grossing film in that franchise.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows also slipped a spot to third with $14 million. Also down a light 33%, the film has brought in $157.4 million. While it's closing the gap with the original film in week-to-week numbers, it's looking likely it will fall short of the $200 million mark.

Holding in fourth place, and with the best week-to-week drop, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was down just under 24% and took in $11.3 million for the weekend. The movie stands at $76.8 million and it should be able to surpass the $100 million mark by the time it ends its run.

Rounding out the top five, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked fell 42%, taking in $9.5 million. The film stands at $111.5 million on a $75 million budget, and though it still lags behind previous entries, don't be surprised if the numbers warrant yet another rodent invasion in the near future.

The expanded theater numbers for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (adding over 750 locations) helped it break into the top ten. Landing in ninth place with $5.7 million, the film had the best per-theater average ($7,129) behind The Devil Inside ($15,098). The movie has taken in $10.4 million, and signs point to the spy thriller enjoying a good run leading into awards season.

Dueling family films We Bought a Zoo and War Horse ran neck-in-neck with War Horse's $8.6 million sixth place showing just beating out We Bought a Zoo's $8.4 million. Both films crossed the $50 million mark as well - and both sit at over $56 million.

With The Devil Inside leading the charge, the box office was up 30% from last year (though still down compared to 2010). Next week Meryl Streep expands nationwide as The Iron Lady while Joyful Noise and Contraband hope to make their own impact.

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