The first film opened very slowly, with massive per-screen averages leading up to a pre-Halloween wide release that grossed $21 million against the opening weekend of the comparatively under performing Saw VI (review) ($14 million). Paranormal Activity (review) ended up with $109 million, while the sequel opened with a massive $40 million weekend but ended with just $84 million (a meager 2.1x weekend-to-final gross multiplier). Even if the third picture manages equally poor legs, it will still end up with $113 million. Whether or not the series has peaked with the third installment like Saw III, this uber-cheap franchise has been a licence to print money for the last three years and should continue to be so for the next few Halloweens. Paramount has scored a studio's dream - blockbuster grosses on a franchise with minuscule costs. It's already done $26 million worldwide, giving the film a massive (for a cheap horror film) $80 million worldwide debut. Come what may, they will be milking this series until the audience stops caring.
In limited-release news, Margin Call (one of the better films of the season, natch) grossed a solid $582,000 on 56 screens, for a solid $10,930 per-screen average. The financial-crisis drama (starring Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, and Jeremy Irons among others) is also available as a Video On Demand title, making its theatrical performance all the more impressive. Martha Marcy May Marlene, the allegedly terrific Elizabeth Olsen drama about a young woman who escapes from a cult (my wife wants to see it so I'm waiting) scored $34,000 per-screen on four screens, while the documentary Being Elmo earned $25,000 on a single screen. The Mighty Macs, a family-friendly film about girls' basketball, grossed $1,000 per screen in 975 theaters. Snowmen (review), another family film, debuted with $73,000 on 19 screens.
This article concludes, with a look at holdovers and a sneak peak at next weekend's releases, at Mendelson's Memos.
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