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Weekend Box Office: Argo Tops in its Third Week, Cloud Atlas, Silent Hill Disappoint

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By Chris Kavan - 10/28/12 at 11:26 PM CT

After a stream of successful weekend following a dreadful September, Hollywood finally had another down weekend compared to last year. While the studios are quick to lay the blame on the freak "frankenstorm" brewing in the northeast, the real problem is all four new entries failed to find much traction with audiences. That led to an overall decline of 12% compared to the same weekend in 2011.

There wasn't much to be happy about, but at least things were still looking up for Ben Affleck. In its third week in theaters, Argo topped the box office with $12.3 million, raising its total to $60.78 million. It dropped 25% from last week and its total is running just over $3 million compared to The Town. Still, with great word-of-mouth, it can still wind up topping that film. The big test will be the debut of Skyfall, which has been make major waves in international markets (to the tune of $77 million) and should have a great domestic debut to match.

Second place belonged to the the animated hit Hotel Transylvania, which took in an additional $9.5 million to raise its total to $130.4 million. It finally passed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $124.9 million final gross to become Sony's best animated showing and should have no problem taking down The Smurfs, even with Wreck-It Ralph fast approaching.

Out of all the new films, Cloud Atlas had the best showing, though the third place $9.4 million wasn't such a hot opening for a $100 million epic. The nearly three hour running time, not to mention the overall strange nature of the time-spanning, multiple character story, didn't make it appealing to a general audience. It was the lowest debut for the Wachowskis, and a near record low opening for Tom Hanks. The audience was pretty much split between men and women, though it attracted a mostly older (77% over 25), who gave it a not-so-hot C+ average.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D tied Taken 2 with $8 million. Taken 2 has had a good run, taking in $117.4 million over four weekends - well ahead of the original film by $22 million. Silent Hill, meanwhile was way down over the original film, which took in $20.15 million when it opened. Part of the issue is the crowded box office (Paranormal Activity 4 and Sinister are still drawing in the horror crowd) and part of the issue is that Silent Hill just isn't that relevant to audiences. It should fall out of the top 10 rather fast once Halloween exits the national mind.

Speaking of Halloween, it turns out a live-action adventure targeting the tween crowd was an even worse bet than a bunch of mutants from a video game franchise. Fun Size just barely made the top 10 with a terrible $4.06 million opening. That's the worse opening yet for Nickelodeon films - Hey Arnold! The Movie previously held that distinction with its $5.7 million opening. I'm guessing the PG-13 rating, and the generic nature of the story, turned off both the youngest audience and the older crowd as well.

At least it did better than surfing story Chasing Mavericks, which didn't even reach the top 10, landing all the way down in 13th place with $2.2 million. It made one top 10 list - it was the 9th worst showing for any film opening in over 2000 theaters. If it cracks $5 million it will be a feat - for Fox/Walden media, it's the second straight bomb following Won't Back Down (which has barely cracked $5 million itself).

Last week's #1 film, Paranormal Activity 4, took a huge 70% hit - dropping down to fourth place with $8.7 million. That's the biggest drop for any film in the series in the second weekend. The fourth outing has earned $42.6 million so far, and while it will break $50 million (and still looks good next to a $5 million budget) it will be the lowest grossing film in the series.

Next week sees the opening of animated film Wreck-It Ralph, Denzel Washington playing a hero/goat in Flight and the all-action, all-the-time Man with the Iron Fists. I, for one, am looking forward to a video game movie that actually looks good - and with Halloween finally over, Hotel Transylvania should finally see a significant drop. We'll see what the next week holds.

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