'Paranormal Activity' outdoes estimate by 12%
"Paranormal Activity" was already set to break records this weekend based on Paramount's ticket sales estimate yesterday morning. But the low-budget horror film blew past that estimate with much stronger than expected returns on Sunday: $2.4 million instead of the expected $1.6 million. That's a difference of about 50%.
The movie ended up collecting $7.9 million over the weekend, substantially more than the $7.066 million that Paramount predicted on Monday. While studio estimates are sometimes off by a few percentage points, it's rare that they under- or overestimate by more than 10%, as happened with "Paranormal Activity."
Studios base Sunday morning estimates on similar films that collected a similar amount of money on Friday and Saturday. When movies significantly outperform their estimates, it's usually a sign that word of mouth is tremendously strong, driving better-than-expected Sunday attendance.
Average ticket sales per theater for "Paranormal Activity" were $49,379, the highest ever for a movie playing at more than 100 locations.
The movie, which cost $15,000 to produce and on which Paramount has spent around $2 million for marketing so far, has already grossed a total of $9.1 million domestically.
Actual ticket sales for the weekend's No. 1 movie, "Couples Retreat," came in at $34.3 million. That's $1 million, or 3%, less than Universal's Sunday estimate.
Photo: Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat in "Paranormal Activity." Credit: Paramount Pictures