It will take supernatural powers to dislodge the jocular juggernaut "Jackass 3D" from the top spot at the nation's box office this weekend after its astonishing $50.3 million debut. Enter 'Paranormal Activity 2,' the sequel to one of the most profitable movies of all time.
With summer-style mid-week receipts in the $4 million range and a $62 million total heading into the weekend, Paramount's "Jackass 3D" has a shot at a second weekend in the mid $20 million range and a total gross pushing $90 million.
But with its profitable pedigree and the addition of IMAX, "Paranormal Activity 2" could give a real scare to the boys from "Jackass" and open with a gross that's also in the mid $20 million range.
Yet as we saw with "Jackass" last week, younger audiences can often post much higher numbers than expected and "Paranormal' receipts in the low $30 millions would not be a shock. It can't hurt either that the film is playing on an astounding 3,111 screens _ nearly 1,200 more than the original.
After a tremendous six-theater debut last weekend, Warner Bros.' "Hereafter" will expand into wide release on Friday and should follow the typical pattern of success for a Clint Eastwood film.
As director, Eastwood is a brand that represents quality, and audiences have made slow-burn hits out of "Million Dollar Baby" and "Mystic River." So expect a weekend gross of around $15 million for "Hereafter" and a strong long-term impact on the box office as critical and audience buzz builds.
Summit's "Red" starring Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman had a solid debut last weekend, despite being overshadowed by the antics of Johnny Knoxville, and should hold up well this weekend with a gross of just over $10 million. Older audiences who typically don't rush out on opening weekend may find this the week to catch up with the ensemble action film.
Sony's "The Social Network" is pushing $70 million going into the weekend, with low 30 percent weekend-over-weekend drops, and is poised to earn another $7 million plus.
But keep an eye on Disney's "Secretariat," which posted the lowest second-weekend drop of the year last weekend and could prove a factor in the final stretch of this weekend's derby with receipts in the $6.5 million to $7 million area.
Paul Dergarabedian is president of the Box Office Division of Hollywood.com. and has been providing box office information to The Associated Press for nearly two decades.