Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The low-cost movie “Paranormal Activity 3” opened in first place at U.S. and Canadian theaters in the most successful debut ever for a horror film, generating $54 million for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures.
“The Three Musketeers,” from Summit Entertainment LLC, took fourth place in its debut with $8.8 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
The “Paranormal Activity” films are among Paramount’s most profitable. The first, made for about $15,000, had $193.4 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. The second cost $3 million and took in $177.5 million. The latest was made for $5 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and was expected to generate $39 million in opening weekend sales, Box Office Mojo estimates.
“This $54 million performance is totally unexpected,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office division of Hollywood.com, in a telephone interview. “For some reason, this franchise resonates. This brand is so well-known that they just put the name out there, ‘Paranormal Activity,’ and the audience lines up.”
“Paranormal Activity 3” is a prequel to the first two films, explaining the origins of the supernatural terror that haunts two sisters and their families.
Like the other movies, the third installment is presented as footage from home-video cameras set up by the family to capture the source of strange occurrences. The movie features Sprague Grayden and Katie Featherston.
Hollywood.com said “Paranormal Activity 3” beat the $40.7 million horror-film record set by its predecessor film last year. This installment also set a record for an October debut.
Among returning films, the boxing-robot movie “Real Steel” dropped to second place with $11.3 million after two weekends in the No. 1 spot. The film, produced by DreamWorks Studios SKG and distributed by Walt Disney Co., has taken in $67.2 million since it was released on Oct. 7.
“Footloose,” an update of the 1984 hit, fell to third from second with $10.9 million. The Paramount picture tells the story of a big-city teenager, played by Kenny Wormald, who is exceptionally skilled at dancing. He moves to a small town where the local preacher discourages dancing.
The original film, featuring Kevin Bacon as the disruptive newcomer, cost $8.2 million and generated $80 million in domestic ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
‘Johnny English Reborn’
Fourth place’s “The Three Musketeers” is the latest adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s tale of three 17th century veteran French soldiers and their young protege. The new film was released in Europe before its U.S. debut and had taken in $49 million as of Oct. 21, according to Box Office Mojo.
The movie features Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson in the title roles, with Orlando Bloom and Milla Jovovich supporting. It was made for about $75 million, the estimate of the Internet Movie Database.
The political thriller “The Ides of March,” directed by George Clooney, fell one place to fifth with $4.9 million. The movie features Ryan Gosling as the idealistic press secretary to a governor, played by Clooney, who aspires to be president. The film from Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures has taken in $29.2 million since it opened.
“Johnny English Reborn,” the weekend’s other new film, was eighth with sales of $3.8 million. Actor Rowan Atkinson returns as inept British secret and Gillian Anderson co-stars in the film, which is distributed by Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.
Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell 6.24 percent to $112 million from a year earlier, Hollywood.com said. Domestic box-office receipts this year have declined 3.99 percent to $8.38 billion. Attendance is down 6.01 percent.
The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for Oct. 21-22 and estimates for yesterday.
--Editors: Rob Golum, Sylvia Wier, Ville Heiskanen
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