Scary movie fans are still into “Paranormal Activity,” though the horror franchise looks as though it’s starting to run out of steam at the box office.
Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity 4” debuted at No. 1 with $30.2 million, a big drop from the $40 million and $50 million opening weekends of the last two installments, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Perpetual hit maker Tyler Perry failed to find an audience for his new persona as ace crime solver. Summit Entertainment’s “Alex Cross,” starring Perry as author James Patterson’s brilliant criminal profiler, was a dud, opening at No. 5 with $11.8 million.
Perry has written, directed and starred in a string of hits featuring his sassy grandma Madea, which mostly have had opening weekends two and three times bigger than that of “Alex Cross.” Fans didn’t buy into Perry as Cross as the police detective goes up against a diabolical serial killer.
“He’s become so identified and so successful with the Madea franchise that when he steps outside of that, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the audience is going along with him,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “It’s fun for him to stretch out a little bit, but it didn’t really pay off.”
Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage tale “Argo” held up well in its second weekend, remaining at No. 2 with $16.6 million, dropping just 15 percent from its debut. Big studio releases often drop 50 percent or more in subsequent weekends, but “Argo” has proven a hit with critics and audiences alike, earning Academy Awards buzz and strong word of mouth that should give it a long run at theaters.
Released by Warner Bros., “Argo” raised its domestic total to $43.2 million.