For the 3rd entry into the franchise – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 has opened to a spectacular start in the United States looking to finish it’s opening 3 day haul at around the US$45m mark. That’s the best horror film opening weekend since Warner New Lines reboot of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET which also took $45m on it’s opening weekend. Locally PA3 is also smashing it where it has opened where it is #1 in Australia looking to finish the opening 4 day weekend on $3m, well below U.S. pro rata but that’s achieved in 4 days what most horror films hope to reach in a season gross for Australia and it’s #2 in New Zealand just behind THE SMURFS (as the country is in school holidays).
The path of horror films in the market for 2011 has not been an impressive one SCREAM 4 drastically underperformed at the U.S. box office, FRIGHT NIGHT, SHARK NIGHT, FINAL DESTINATION 5 were all soft and failed to drive an audience, which is strange considering how lucrative the horror genre is and how receptive the U.S. Market is to it. In fact the only horror film of note in the last 12 months that made a dent was INSIDIOUS that cracked $50m stateside. None of the aforementioned titles went anywhere near that number except SCREAM 4 which finished on $47m – but for that franchise reboot the film should’ve grossed upwards near the $80m mark.
That, and the last few months of interminably soft box office results outside of a one or two mediocre openings, has really shown a market shift in attitudes toward cinema fodder, especially horror, and what the audiences are looking for. Well PA3 put paid to naysayers with a cracking traditional U.S. box office winning opening result. it’s a known brand, the concept is familiar and the audiences know what they are going to get – that’s one of the reasons why this, The Lion King Re-Issue, The Smurfs etc all worked – audiences are treading with the familiar. Oh, that and PA3 is actually entertaining!
For Australia this is the first time in recent memory that a horror film has actually topped the box office too! Good Onya Toby – Scaring Up The Box Office Dollars!