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Category: The Devil Inside

Box Office: 'The Devil Inside' is a surprise No. 1 [Video]

January 9, 2012 | 11:15 am

The Devil Inside was the No 1 film at the box office this weekend
After two weekends atop the box office, Tom Cruise's latest film has tumbled to the runner-up position,  thanks to a low-budget horror flick that was a surprise No. 1 pick.

"The Devil Inside," which Paramount Pictures acquired for a mere $1 million, was the weekend winner with a studio-estimated take of $34.5 million. Pre-release audience polling had indicated that the movie would make no more than $15 million upon its debut. Instead, it easily beat the fourth installment in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, which collected $20.5 million, lifting its overall total to around $170 million.

As a result of the strong ticket sales, the weekend was up 29% compared to the same period in 2011. That was good news for the movie business, which saw receipts fall 3% last year.

For more on the weekend's results, check out this week's box office video report.


Box office: 'Devil Inside' bests 'Ghost Protocol'

Does 'Devil Inside' suggest a new studio-filmmaker relationship?

'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' leaves art house, to box office success

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Simon Quarterman and Isabella Rossi star in "The Devil Inside." Credit: Paramount Pictures

Does 'Devil Inside' suggest a new studio-filmmaker relationship?

January 9, 2012 |  8:30 am


"The Devil Inside"  is an unusual Hollywood phenomenon
Say what you will about "The Devil Inside" -- and judging by its "F" CinemaScore, plenty of people did -- but however harsh the words, the movie is an unusual phenomenon. Hidden beneath the box-office puns and the industry euphemisms is something rare: an out-of-nowhere, did-that-really-just-happen, Tim Tebow-style success.

Films can quietly build word of mouth, especially in the genre community. But not like this.

"Devil," an exorcism tale that an obscure filmmaker named William Brent Bell made on a shoestring before a pair of Hollywood producers helped him sell it to Paramount, featured no stars. Nor did it boast any festival-enabled grass-roots support a la "Saw" or "Paranormal Activity." And critics? Forget about them. They gave the film -- which uses the shopworn "Blair Witch"-like found-footage conceit to tell of a woman who travels to Italy to explore the mystery of her murderous and possessed mother -- a 7% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yet the film attracted a constituent base that would make any Republican nominee envious. So robust was its audience, in fact, that "Devil" not only won the weekend with an eye-popping $34.5 million -- it became the third-biggest January opening in history.

That would have been an astonishing feat even if the movie hadn't been so vehemently disliked; as it was, the numbers were even more impressive.  (By comparison, the 2009 Cameron Diaz thriller "The Box," the last wide release to be given the scarlet "F" by CinemaScore respondents, opened only to $7.5 million.)

The "Devil" base was not only strong, it was hidden -- so much so that pre-release projections underestimated the total audience by as much as half.

Pundits have understandably been struggling to make sense of it all. No matter what explanation one settles on, it's clear that the marketing team at Paramount, which retailed the movie from its low-budget Insurge division, pulled off some nifty tricks.

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