By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Sept 15 Low-budget horror
sequel "Insidious: Chapter 2" grabbed moviegoers searching for
a Friday the 13th scare, winning the U.S. and Canadian weekend
box office race over the Robert De Niro mobster comedy "The
Family" and setting a record for a September opening day.
The fright flick about a family haunted by spirits far
exceeded forecasts with just over $41 million in ticket sales
over its first three days, according to studio estimates on
Just over $20 million in sales came on its Friday the 13th
release date, marking a new single-day record for September that
had been held by "Sweet Home Alabama" with $13.1 million,
according to Hollywood.com's box office division.
"The Family" took in $14.5 million to finish the weekend in
second place. Last weekend's winner, Vin Diesel sci-fi sequel
"Riddick," fell to the No. 3 slot collecting $7 million.
The "Insidious" sequel is the latest film from low-budget
horror filmmaker Jason Blum, the producer behind the successful
"Paranormal Activity" franchise. The first "Insidious," released
in April 2011, opened with $13 million and went on to gross $97
million around the world.
The new film was produced for $5 million and features
Patrick Wilson, star of summer horror hit "The Conjuring." Both
"Insidious 2" and "The Conjuring" were directed by James Wan.
Jim Orr, president of distribution for FilmDistrict,
"Insidious 2's" distributor, said the whopping total far
exceeded the studio's expectations of an opening of somewhere in
the mid-$20 millions, "so to have numbers like that is just
Orr noted that the first "Insidious" "generated a lot of
goodwill, people really liked it, and this film was seamless
with the first." Those factors, not to mention its Friday the
13th release date, helped drive the huge opening, he said.
In the "Insidious" sequel, the haunted Lambert family tries
to uncover the childhood secret that has left them connected to
Box office analysts had projected the film's debut would
take in $32 million.
Orr added that the studio was "cautiously optimistic" that
the film would enjoy several weeks of good box office,
especially given that there were no other horror films slated to
open until "Carrie" in mid-October.
"The Family" features De Niro as a mob boss who relocates
his family to France under the witness protection program.
Michelle Pfeiffer co-stars as his wife. The film was produced
for $30 million by director Luc Besson's EuropaCorp and
privately held studio Relativity Media.
The film, which the studio said exceeded its expectations
for the opening weekend, received a C rating from CinemaScore
based on a survey of moviegoers.
"Riddick," starring Diesel as an intergalactic traveler who
can see in the dark, has now earned $31.3 million since its
release last weekend.
Among the other top movies, civil rights drama "Lee Daniels'
The Butler" took the No. 4 spot with $5.6 million, just ahead of
the Jennifer Aniston comedy "We're the Millers," which landed in
fifth with $5.4 million.
Privately held FilmDistrict released "Insidious: Chapter 2."
"The Family" was distributed by privately held Relativity Media.
"Riddick" was released by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast
Corp. "We're the Millers" was distributed by Warner
Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. The Weinstein Company
released "The Butler."