'Paranormal Activity 4,' Tyler Perry's 'Alex Cross' disappoint at box office, 'Argo' holds strong

tyler-perry-alex-cross-2012-summit.jpgBoth horror sequel "Paranormal Activity 4" and Tyler Perry's action makeover in "Alex Cross" came in far below box office expectations in their opening weekend.

After a disappointing $15 million Friday, "PA4" fell by 38% on Saturday (box office usually goes up on Saturday) and is estimated to reach only $30.2 million for the weekend. That follows a $40.7 million opening for "PA2" and a $52.6 million opening for "PA3." The "PA4" opening is still solid considering the film's reported $5 million budget, but the sudden reversal in grosses has to be worrying for long term health of the series. By comparison, the "Saw" franchise posted consistent openings in the $30 million range for installments two through five.

Tyler Perry may want to rethink a move into action, as his debut as James Patterson's beloved detective "Alex Cross" stumbled out of the gate with just $11.8 million for the weekend. That's lower than any previous film Perry has directed and/or starred in with the exception of 2007's "Daddy's Little Girls" which didn't star Perry and opened to a very similar $11.2 million. Even more telling, "Alex Cross" didn't come close to the two previous films starring Morgan Freeman as the title character: "Along Came a Spider" bowed to $16.7 million in 2001 and "Kiss the Girls" hit $13.2 million way back in 1997. Factor in today's higher ticket prices and Perry's Cross looks even worse.

There was much better news for Ben Affleck, as his Oscar-buzzed historical thriller "Argo" fell by a very slim 15% from last weekend, banking another $16.6 million for an impressive 10 day gross of $43.2 million. That's far better than the respectable 35% Affleck's "The Town" lost in its second weekend in 2010. With an exceptional 'A+' grade from CinemaScore audience polling, "Argo" is shaping up to one of the fall's biggest sleeper hits.

Kevin James' family comedy "Here Comes the Boom" and quirky dark comedy "Seven Psychopaths" with Christopher Walken and Colin Farrell also held well in their second weekends, dipping 28% and 21% respectively, but that's based on already disappointing opening numbers. Ethan Hawke-starring horror film "Sinister" saw its second weekend take drop 50% opposite the opening of "Paranormal," hardly unusual for a genre film.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight's "The Sessions" which is generating Oscar talk for stars John Hawkes and Helen Hunt debuted with a strong $121,005 from just four theaters in New York and L.A. for a $30,251 average. The winner of this year's Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival will expand to additional cities in the following weeks.

Box office top 10 (Oct. 26-28 weekend estimates)
1. "Paranormal Activity 4" $30.2 million
2. "Argo" $16.6 million (week 2, $43.2 million to date)
3. "Hotel Transylvania" $13.5 million (week 4, $119 million to date)
4. "Taken 2" $13.4 million (week 3, $106 million to date)
5. "Alex Cross" $11.8 million
6. "Sinister" $9 million (week 2, $32 million to date)
7. "Here Comes the Boom" $8.5 million (week 2, $23.2 million to date)
8. "Pitch Perfect" $7 million (week 4, $45.8 million to date)
9. "Frankenweenie" $4.4 million (week 3, $28.3 million to date)
10. "Looper" $4.2 million (week 4, $57.8 million to date)
Photo/Video credit: Summit