Sinister and Taken 2 were in a close race for first place on Friday, though Sinister's figure has been juiced a bit with Thursday night earnings. Argo was a solid third place performer, while the other three new nationwide releases disappointed.
Sinister claimed the top spot with an estimated $7.45 million on its opening day. However, around $1 million of that gross came from midnight and Thursday night shows. The midnight gross counts towards Friday, but the Thursday figure should not. Unfortunately, Summit has decided not to break out the Thursday figure, therefore we're left guessing whether the movie's actual Friday gross was above or below Taken's $7 million.
Regardless of what the Thursday grosses were, Sinister did get off to a very good start. It was way higher than Insidious ($4.78 million) and The Ring ($4.84 million), and also a bit up on August's The Possession ($6.08 million). Still, it only received a "C+" CinemaScore, and Summit is expecting the movie to wind up at $17.5 million for the three-day frame (which should only be good for third or fourth place).
Taken 2 fell 62 percent to an estimated $7 million. That's obviously a much steeper drop than its predecessor had at the same point (34 percent), but it is generally in line with action sequels. Through eight days, Taken 2 has earned $71.3 million, which is way up on the first Taken's $39.3 million haul at the same point. It will finish the weekend with over $20 million, which means it will top the charts once again.
In third place, Argo debuted to an estimated $5.93 million. In comparison, director/star Ben Affleck's The Town opened to $8.35 million two years ago. At least Argo was in line with The Kingdom's $5.96 million opening day, and it's currently on pace for a weekend in the $17 to $19 million range.
Hotel Transylvania held well again, dipping just 35 percent to an estimated $4.2 million. The animated hit has now earned $89.1 million, and should pass $100 million on Sunday.
Rounding out the Top Five, Here Comes the Boom opened to an estimated $3.63 million. That's easily the worst start ever for a Kevin James movie below The Dilemma ($6.17 million). Sony is now expecting a weekend tally between $11 and $12 million.
Way down in ninth place, Seven Psychopaths debuted to a terrible estimated $1.36 million at 1,480 locations. To emphasize just how bad that is, the per-theater average of $919 was a fraction lower than that of notorious flop Shoot 'Em Up ($925) on its opening day. The movie is at least receiving decent word-of-mouth ("B+" CinemaScore, up to "A-" with audiences under 25), but this is just too low a point from which to gain any traction.
Seven Psychopaths did perform better than Atlas Shrugged: Part II, which tanked with just $692,000 at 1,012 locations. The movie should crack $2 million for the three-day weekend, which is only a bit ahead of its predecessor's $1.69 million start in less than one-third the number of theaters.