'Paranormal Activity' Frightens The Competition In The Saturday Box Office Report

DESC1. "Paranormal Activity" ($7.6 million)

2. "Saw VI" ($7 million)

3. "Where The Wild Things Are" ($4.4 million)

4. "Law Abiding Citizen" ($4.1 million)

5. "Couples Retreat" ($3.7 million)

T'was the weekend before Halloween and all through Hollywood, not a feature was stirring — except for "Paranormal Activity," the slow-boiling low-budget horror flick that has shocked-and-awed both moviegoers and box office watch dogs. For the first time since its September release, "Paranormal" debuted in the number one spot with a $7.6 million intake on Friday, heralding a potential $21 million weekend according to Deadline Hollywood Daily's best projections.

Executives at Paramount are thinking that "Paranormal" could well be the studio's most profitable film in modern history, which would certainly be the case if it rises past $100 million by the end of Halloween weekend.

"Paranormal Activity" seems to have frightened away the rest of the competition, as the weekend's other newcomers did considerably worse in comparison. "Saw VI," the sixth installment in the long-running horror franchise, opened in second place with a poor Friday showing of $7 million and a probable $18 million weekend. Should the results play out as expected, "Saw VI" will be a severe underperformer for Lionsgate, and could finally herald the end of the franchise.

The remainder of Friday's top five was filled with recurring players "Where The Wild Things Are," "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Couples Retreat." The Spike Jonze-directed "Wild Things" is no longer expected to recoup its budget in theaters, thanks largely due to the film's oft-mentioned post-production woes.

But the real troubles rest with the weekend's other high profile releases, such as "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant." The vampire-centric film wound up in seventh place with a $2.2 million Friday finish, indicating that it won't capture the same success as "Twilight" despite the creature crush emphasis — but when you compare gothic head shots of Robert Pattinson and John C. Reilly, it's easy to see why the tween crowd isn't flocking to theaters in quite the same way.

"Astro Boy," meanwhile, underperformed severely at eighth place and $1.8 million by end of Friday. The Imagi Studios animated film could do better overseas considering "Astro's" Japan-based manga roots, but it looks like American audiences aren't exactly embracing the little robot boy with a machine gun for a butt.

Which movies do you plan on checking out? Is this finally your chance to see "Paranormal Activity," or are you more of a "Saw VI" kind of moviegoer? Will you offer a hand to struggling newcomers like "Cirque du Freak" and "Astro Boy," or are they on their own? Let us know your plans in the comments section or on Twitter!