Entertainment & Arts

Paranormal Activity 4 chills audiences at US box office

Paranormal Activity
Image caption Scary movie fans are still into Paranormal Activity

The fourth instalment in the Paranormal Activity franchise has taken the top spot at the North American box office ahead of Halloween.

Paranormal Activity 4 earned $30.2m (£19m) in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

Ben Affleck's political thriller, Argo made $16.6m (£10m) to hold on to second place, while animated comedy Hotel Transylvania moved up to third.

In fourth place, last week's top earner, Taken 2 made just $13.4m (£8m).

This weekend's other new wide release, crime thriller Alex Cross, starring Tyler Perry as the popular James Patterson detective character, earned $11.8 ($7m) to scrape into fifth place.

While Paranormal Activity 4 managed to take the number one spot in North America and Canada, it is still a big drop from the $40m (£25m) and $50m (£31m) opening weekends of the previous instalments in the fright film franchise.

Overseas, the low budget horror had a good start with $26.5m (£16.5m) in 33 countries, giving it a worldwide total of $56.7m (£35.3m).

"Balanced lineup"

Overall, Hollywood film revenues continued to rise after a late-summer slump.

For a fourth weekend in a row domestic US revenues increased, totalling $131 million on Sunday - up 8% from the same weekend a year ago.

According to box office tracker, Hollywood.com, films such as Argo, Hotel Transylvania and Taken 2 have enjoyed strong runs lasting several weeks.

"Last year, the box office was so top-heavy with Paranormal Activity 3, and the rest of the films really under performed," said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

"This year, we have a much more balanced lineup."

Elsewhere in the chart, another horror movie, Sinister, dropped to sixth place, taking in $9m ($5.6m) in ticket sales.

Here Comes the Boom, a comedy starring Kevin James as a high school teacher who looks to become a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for his school, followed in seventh place with $8.5 million.

At number eight, musical-comedy Pitch Perfect earned $7 million.

Rounding out the top ten were Frankenweenie, Tim Burton's latest effort with $4.4 million, and Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which earned $4.2 million.

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