‘Paranormal Activity’ Scares Up First Place At Weekend Box Office

Paramount's low-budget thriller wins the top spot, while 'Saw VI' fails to live up to the success of its predecessors.

The Box-Office Top Five
#1 [movie id="369646"]“Paranormal Activity”[/movie] ($22 million)
#2 [movie id="414297"]“Saw VI”[/movie] ($14.8 million)
#3 [movie id="291128"]“Where the Wild Things Are”[/movie] ($14.4 million)
#4 [movie id="411771"]“Law Abiding Citizen”[/movie] ($12.7 million)
#5 [movie id="409482"]“Couples Retreat”[/movie] ($11.1 million)

You don’t have to believe in ghosts to believe in “Paranormal Activity” — the astounding box-office results for this low-budget horror flick speak for themselves.

After five weeks in theaters, director Oren Peli’s buzzworthy thriller, which only cost about $15,000 to make, managed to scare up a first-place finish at the box office this weekend with $22 million by Sunday night’s end for a cumulative total of $62.5 million. “Paranormal Activity” has shown so much promise that Paramount is already mulling over the idea of a sequel, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the more immediate future, the studio is looking at the upcoming Halloween weekend as an opportunity for “Paranormal” to cross the $100 million threshold, making the ghoul-infused horror movie Paramount’s most profitable film in recent history.

But accompanying this weekend’s phenomenal box-office success was the poor showing of “Saw VI,” the latest outing for Lionsgate’s typically lucrative horror franchise. The sixth installment in the series premiered this weekend at $14.8 million, a significantly worse opening than the “Saw V” debut weekend, which took in $30 million. Given the low production costs involved in producing the series, it’s unlikely that the low numbers for “Saw VI” will crimp production of future films, but it’s surely a sign that Jigsaw’s master plan needs some fine-tuning going forward.

Several other new movies premiered this weekend, though none of them managed to crack the top five. In sixth place was “Astro Boy,” Image Studios’ animated adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series. The movie’s $7 million intake would be much worse if not for the fact that “Astro Boy” is a beloved property overseas, which should go a long way toward recouping the film’s budget.

“Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” wasn’t quite as lucky, landing in eighth place by Sunday night’s end. Universal’s vampire flick hoped to capture the same franchise potential of the “Twilight” series, but the $6.3 million finish could prove a harsher deterrent to the movie’s future prospects than a mouthful of garlic.

Hilary Swank’s “Amelia,” the biopic focusing on historical pilot Amelia Earhart’s enigmatic life and disappearance, failed to crack the box-office top 10 mainly due to its limited theatrical run and poor reception among critics.

Upcoming Releases
The only major threat facing the continued success of “Paranormal Activity” next weekend is “Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” the documentary that focuses on the final rehearsals of the recently deceased entertainment icon.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Paranormal Activity,” “Saw VI” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward