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Weekend Box Office: Paranormal Activity 4 Comes Out On Top, Alex Cross Fails to Impress

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By Chris Kavan - 10/21/12 at 10:31 PM CT

It was another good week for Hollywood, as the top 12 films managed a 10% increase from last year at the same time, but while the numbers were good, considering the prospects, things should have been a bit better.

Leading the charge was perennial Halloween franchise Paranormal Activity. The fourth film took the top spot with $30.2 million. While that number still looks great next to a $5 million budget, it was off the mark from Paranormal Activity 3 (which had a record October opening of $52.6 million) and Paranormal Activity 2 ($40.7 million). Considering the lackluster C cinemascore, the film is likely going to end up the lowest-grossing in the series. I'm still guessing we're going to be in the market for Paranormal Activity 5 at this time next year, but it's clear the audience may be getting tired of this found footage franchise.

The week's other new wide-release opening, Alex Cross, managed just a fifth place showing with $11.75 million. I had a feeling this movie wasn't going to gel well with audiences, and I was proven right. It opened lower than any previous Tyler Perry film, and couldn't top either of the previous two Alex Cross films: Kiss the Girls ($13.2 million) or Along Came a Spider ($16.7 million). The film drew an audience that most Perry films do - 74% African American, 68% over 35 and 60% women - but not the wide audience that reads the many James Patterson novels. The film may have garnered an A rating, but expect it to fall swiftly out of the picture in the coming weeks.

It was good news for the remainder of the top five. Argo had an excellent hold - in fact, it had the best hold for a live-action film playing in over 3000 theaters - dropping just 15% to $16.6 million. That raises the Ben Affleck film to nearly $43.2 million. While it's opening weekend was lower than The Town, it had a better second weekend and could have a chance not only to top The Town's $92.1 million total, but may cross the $100 million mark depending on how it holds up in the next few weeks.

It was also good news for Hotel Transylvania. The monster-themed animated film still has Halloween coming up and in its fourth week dropped just 22%, taking in $13.5 million and raising its total to $119 million. It will easily pass Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ($124.9 million) before next week and The Smurfs ($142.6 million) should be its next target.

After a somewhat rough start, Taken 2 has a decent recovery in its third weekend, dropping just 39% in its second weekend with $13.4 million and crossed the $100 million mark to wind up with just shy of $106 million. While it will still probably fall short of the first film's $145 million - it should be a lot closer than many expected and there is already word of a Taken 3 taking shape.

Despite the heavy competition from Paranormal Activity 4, Sinister held up a pretty well, dropping 50% to $9.03 million in sixth place. The horror film have taken in $31.95 million. A $50 million total is still not out of the question.

Next week the time-bending, mind-twisting Cloud Atlas opens, another horror film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D looks to capitalize on the holiday (though it will probably open far below either of the two films currently in theaters), Fun Size looks to be an Adventures in Babysitting clone set during trick-or-treating and Chasing Mavericks attempts to make surfing cool again. A nice mix - we'll see if any have a chance to top Paranormal Activity 4.

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