The biggest mistake made by the disappointing The Blair Witch Project sequel Book of Shadows was in assuming that the success of the first film was a fluke, that people wouldn’t line up again to watch a bunch of simpering, slobbering hikers shake a camera around in the woods and get the life scared out of them. But the Paranormal Activity franchise has always understood the most important (and profitable) tenet of sequels in the current moviegoing age: “Second verse same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.” The latest things-that-go-bump-into-your-camera film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is technically the fifth to be released in less than five years (although there’s yet another, called Paranormal Activity 5, set to come out in October) and the series still going strong. The spin-off, which was created in part to appeal to Hispanic audiences with its all-Latino cast, raked in a healthy $8.7 million on Friday despite the blizzard that covered much of the Northeast in snow.
Some families might have opted for dealing with the real snowdrifts in their driveways over the CGI ones in Frozen, but the Disney film is still ice-skating speedily towards that $300-million mark, having taken in a cool $6.8 million yesterday. Meanwhile, Hours 3-6 of Peter Jackson’s extremely long movie about extremely short people, a.k.a. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, has been dislodged from its perch as No. 1 for three weeks running, sliding into third with a Friday take of $5.1 million.
The last two spots are rounded off by a pair of Goodfellas-influenced tales of entertaining fraudsters: The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese’s gleefully satiric Satyricon (or amoral bacchanal, depending on which side of the white lines you fall), surprises with $4.3 million, boosting its total to $54.2 million. In fifth place, American Hustle hustles $4.2 million, bringing David O. Russell’s breathless ’70s narrative of great liars and the hairstyles they loved right to the edge of an $80 million total.
1. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – $8.7 million
2. Frozen – $6.8 million
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $5.1 million
4. The Wolf of Wall Street – $4.3 million
5. American Hustle – $4.2 million
Check back tomorrow for official weekend estimates.