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‘The Devil Inside’ Possesses Box Office

Scaring a whopping $33.7 million from moviegoers, the starless $1-miilion exorcism thriller The Devil Inside easily took the number one spot over a slew of Christmas leftovers – good enough for the third largest January debut of all time. The Paramount marketing machine (also behind the wildly successful Paranormal Activity franchise) convinced crowds that this was the New Year event to behold and with no new competition it was an easy pick for younger viewers.

Even the most optimistic projections had The Devil Inside peaking in the low $20 millions, but it took nearly that amount on Friday alone. Suffering from horrendous word of mouth (and a rare ‘F’ CinemaScore) it steadily declined across the next two days. However, the damage has been done and just one week into January, we could have already witnessed the most profitable film of the year. 

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The Top Ten

1. The Devil Inside - $33.7M (weekend)…$33.7M (gross)
2. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol - $19.8M…$169.5M
3. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - $13.7M…$157.0M
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - $11.7M…$76.9M
5. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked - $9.5M…$111.6M
6. War Horse - $8.7M…$56.9M
7. We Bought a Zoo - $8.3M…$56.9M
8. The Adventures of Tintin - $6.7M…$62.0M
9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - $5.5M…$10.1M
10. The Darkest Hour - $3.1M…$18.7M

Still going gangbusters in second was Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which in its fourth week collected another $19.8 million, which brings its domestic total to a stellar $169.5 million. This four-quel very much has a chance to pass the $215.4 million of Mission: Impossible II and globally has already climbed its way to No. 13 among top 2011 grosses. Its final worldwide take will undoubtedly make it the biggest of the franchise.

Aside from a small dip for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is on track to break $100 million as awards season rolls around, the only other truly notable film amongst these weekend’s performers was the successful expansion of cerebral spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. After adding about 750 theaters it broke into the top ten with $5.5 million and while its mainstream appeal is limited, it too should find an audience with mature moviegoers and prestige fare aficionados.

The early-year hot streak should continue to some extent next weekend as three new movies enter the market all targeting different audiences. Musical Joyful Noise should perform well with faith-based crowds when it enters 2,700 showings, the 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast should play favorably to families sick of singing rodents in 2,500 cinemas, and action flick Contraband should steal the attention of teens on 2,750 screens.

 

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