Halloween is still more than a month away, but audiences have celebrated scary movies all year long.
"Insidious: Chapter 2" gave the horror-movie genre its sixth #1 weekend of 2013 with a whopping $41 million debut. "Mama," "The Purge," the "Evil Dead" remake and "Insidious" director James Wan's "The Conjuring" are all on the list of #1 horror weekends this year. The genre-hopping "Warm Bodies" and "World War Z" could arguably be included among them, as well.
Reuniting the cast, director and vibe of "Insidious" succeeded in more than tripling the first film's debut. "Insidious" star Patrick Wilson was also part of Wan's cast for "The Conjuring," but according to Wilson, "The fact that it's me and James and the same genre is about where the similarity ends."
James Wan is now on an extremely short list of directors who've had two movies open over $40 million in the same year. The only other folks on that list are Andy and Lana Wachowski, the sibling director duo behind 2003's "Matrix" sequels (and the original).
Only last year's animated "Hotel Transylvania" has had a bigger opening during the regularly sluggish weekend, which this year happened to kick off with a Friday the 13th. The $41 million debut of "Insidious: Chapter 2" marked yet another victory for micro-budget filmmaking, as its budget was $5 million.
Despite terrible reviews, the new action comedy from "The Professional" director Luc Besson got off to a decent start. Organized crime oriented romp "The Family" (starring Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones and Dianna Agron) opened at #2 with $14.5 million, the second biggest opening for Besson behind "The Fifth Element" back in 1997.
Last weekend's #1 champion, "Riddick," suffered a dramatic drop of more than 60 percent during the sci-fi sequel's second weekend in theaters. Vin Diesel's third turn as the gritty antihero from "Pitch Black" collected $7 million for a $31.3 million total.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" was #4 with $5.5 million for a four-week total of more than $100 million. End-of-the-world comedy "This is the End" crossed the $100 million mark as well, thanks to a re-release intended to capitalize on "The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco."
This weekend will see the release of grownup comedy "Enough Said," featuring one of the late James Gandolfini's final performances; and Toronto International Film Festival hit "Prisoners," with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.