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Bad weekend at the box office gets worse

October 26, 2009 |  3:24 pm

The Angels weren't the only ones who had a bad Sunday.

In a rarity for the movie industry, every movie in the top 10 ended up selling fewer tickets for the weekend than the studios that released them predicted on Sunday morning.

"Paranormal Activity" ended up grossing $21.1 million, down from Paramount's estimate of $22 million. "Saw VI" collected $14.1 million compared with Lionsgate's $14.8 million call. Warner Bros. thought on Sunday that "Where the Wild Things Are" would sell $14.4 million worth of tickets for the weekend, but it ended up at $14 million.

Projected grosses issued Sunday morning, which are based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales compared with similar films that played on similar dates, are often off by a few hundred thousand dollars. It's unusual, however, that every estimate is too high; typically some are too low.

That means fewer people went to the movies than studio distribution executives predicted Sunday morning. While there's no way to know for sure, one possible reason is that people stayed home to watch what turned out to be the  final game of the American League Championship Series between the Angels and Yankees and a few high-profile NFL games including the Steelers' big win over the previously undefeated Vikings.

Total weekend receipts were $116 million, according to Hollywood.com. Sunday morning, the box office analysis firm pegged the number at $121 million. That means actual ticket sales fell a substantial 13% from the same period a year ago.

That's bad news Hollywood didn't need after a weekend on which every new movie -- "Saw VI," "Astro Boy," "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" and "Amelia" -- opened poorly.

--Ben Fritz

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