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Top Ten Weekend Box Office Led by 'Paranormal Activity 4' and Holdover 'Argo'

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood October 21, 2012 at 1:12PM

Strong holdovers like "Argo," more than the new "Paranormal Activity" installment, boosted this weekend's box office over last year. Many had only small fall offs from last week. Business was also helped by a diverse slate of films appealing to a wide range of audiences. -- important for raising ticket sales, but not always achieved by studios.

Making this even more surprising is the track record of Rob Cohen, a veteran whose feature credits go back to 1980 ("A Small Circle of Friends") who has scored three $100-million+ films in the last 11 years ("The Fast and the Furious," "XXX," and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor").

What comes next: The Cinemascore indicates that those who came to see this liked it. But the results suggest that Perry's established persona makes it tough to sell him as a conventional leading man. A planned sequel now seems unlikely.

6. Sinister (Lionsgate) Week 2 - Last Weekend: #3

$9,030,000 (-50%) in 2,542 theaters (+15); PSA: $3,552; Cumulative: $31,950,000

Lionsgate got its bang for the buck with this lower-budget horror film despite the falloff.

What comes next: More competition from yet another new horror film opening next week.

7. Here Comes the Boom (Sony) Week 2 - Last Weekend: #5

$8,500,000 (-28%) in 3,014 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,754; Cumulative: $23,300,000

Following a disappointing opening, the small drop this weekend is mildly encouraging. But this is still not likely to be around for too long.

What comes next: This still looks like it will be the lowest grossing Kevin James-starring film.

8. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 4 - Last Weekend: #6

$7,000,000 (-25%) in 2,660 theaters (-127); PSA: $2,090; Cumulative: $45,800,000

Another modest drop as this sleeper success heads to $50 million+.

What comes next: These grosses for a non-franchise film with a modest budget ($17 million) and less costly niche marketing should encourage those who want to take risks with non-presold projects.

9. Frankenweenie (Buena Vista) Week 3 - Last Weekend: #7

$4,400,000 (-38%) in 2,362 theaters (-643); PSA: $1,863; Cumulative: $28,300,000

Particularly considering the loss of theaters, this isn't a bad fall for this otherwise underperforming Tim Burton film.

What comes next: Halloween weekend could keep it in the top 10 one more time.

10. Looper (Sony) Week 4 - Last Weekend: #8

$4,200,000 (-32%) in 2,223 theaters (-382); PSA: $1,889; Cumulative: $57,800,000

A small drop as this keeps drawing audiences despite strong competition.

What comes next: At $135 million worldwide with more to come, this modestly budgeted film ($30 million) already is a major success.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Argo, Paranormal Activity, Sequel, Alex Cross

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.