Forecast: 'Paranormal' Spin-Off to Haunt First Weekend of 2014

by Ray Subers
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

January 2, 2014

Midnight Update: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones earned $1.2 million from late Thursday shows. That's noticeably lower than The Devil Inside, which brought in $2 million at midnight on the same weekend in 2012. Inclement weather may have had an impact, as much of the Northeast was under at least a half foot of snow. Still, Paramount is now expecting mid-teen-millions for The Marked Ones, which would be way off from Paranormal Activity 4's $29 million debut.

Forecast: After taking a break from theaters in 2013, the Paranormal Activity franchise is back on the first weekend of the new year.

The spin-off, subtitled The Marked Ones, will likely leverage the strong Paranormal brand and some fairly creepy previews in to a first place debut ahead of a handful of 2013 holdovers. Grosses may be a bit muted, though, by a blizzard that could put most of the Northeast under around a foot of snow.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the fifth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise, which got started after the micro-budget original became a word-of-mouth sensation in 2009. With $107.9 million, it remains the highest-grossing entry in the franchise, though Paranormal Activity 2 ($84.8 million) and Paranormal Activity 3 ($104 million) were also extremely successful. However, by the time Paranormal Activity 4 hit theaters in October 2012, franchise fatigue was starting to set in, and the movie ended its run with just $53.9 million.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a spin-off aimed at Latino audiences, who typically make up a disproportionately high percentage of the audience for supernatural horror movies. Aside from casting Latinos in the leading roles, The Marked Ones also differentiates itself from its predecessors by taking the action outside of the house and on to the streets of Los Angeles. At the same time, it features the found footage style and creepy imagery that audiences expect from a Paranormal Activity movie.

While a Paranormal Activity movie has never opened in January before, the month is historically a good launching pad for horror. On this same weekend last year, Texas Chainsaw 3D opened to $21.7 million; more importantly, a year earlier The Devil Inside took in $33.7 million. It may be tough to get that high, though it wouldn't be entirely surprising if The Marked Ones matches Paranormal Activity 4's $29 million debut.

Forecast (Jan. 3-5)
1. Paranormal Activity - $23 million
2. Frozen - $18.2 million (-36%)
3. The Hobbit - $16.2 million (-44%)
4. American Hustle - $13.5 million (-31%)
5. Anchorman 2 - $12.5 million (-38%)
6. Wolf/Wall Street - $11.3 million (-39%)

Bar for Success
Considering The Marked Ones is a spin-off, it doesn't need to match the last Paranormal Activity movie to be considered a success. Anything above $20 million is fine this weekend.

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