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‘Paranormal Activity 4’ paramount at weekend box office

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters (in millions):

1. Paranormal Activity 4 $30.2

2. Argo $16.6

3. Hotel Transylvania $13.5

4. Taken 2 $13.4

5. Alex Cross $11.8

6. Sinister $9

7. Here Comes the Boom $8.5

8. Pitch Perfect $7

9. Frankenweenie $4.4

10. Looper $4.2

Updated: November 23, 2012 6:21AM

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.

“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 hitmaker Tyler Perry failed to find an audience for his new persona as ace crime solver. “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 openings two and three times bigger than that of “Alex Cross.”

“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

Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage tale “Argo” held up well in its second weekend, dropping just 15 percent from its debut. Big studio releases often drop 50 percent or more, but “Argo” has generated strong word of mouth that should give it a long run at theaters.


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