10/13/2012 12:59 pm ET

'Argo' Box Office Strong, 'Sinister' Surprises: Friday Grosses

"Argo" has done something few films this year can claim: Connect both audiences and critics in unison. Ben Affleck's Oscar favorite opened with $5.3 million on Friday, according to estimates reported by Variety and TheWrap. That puts Affleck's film on pace to earn close to $20 million for the three-day weekend, a number which will continue to grow throughout the remainder of 2012; audiences gave "Argo" a rare "A+" grade on Cinemascore, meaning word of mouth should be spectacular.

"Argo" wasn't the only new release to succeed on Friday evening. The low-budget horror film "Sinister" actually beat all films on its opening night, earning an estimated $7.4 million. The thriller, starring Ethan Hawke, received a poor "C+" grade on Cinemascore, but should still gross near $18 million for the three-day weekend -- a huge windfall for a movie that cost just $3 million to produce.

The weekend's other new releases didn't fare nearly as well: "Here Comes the Boom" with Kevin James opened in fifth place with just $3.6 million; "Seven Psychopaths" landed with a thud in ninth place with just $1.3 million; and "Atlas Shrugged Part II" grossed just $692,000, opening outside the top-10.

Among holdovers, "Taken 2" earned $7 million on Friday and should battle "Argo" and "Sinister" for the top spot. Numbers were strong for "Hotel Transylvania," "Pitch Perfect" and "Looper" as well. Not so much for "Frankenweenie," however, which dropped to eighth place on Friday night.

For more on the Friday numbers, head over to TheWrap.

[Numbers via Box Office Mojo]

'Argo' Stills