On the strength of a clever viral marketing campaign—and a good modern-day haunted-house hook—the first Paranormal Activity netted over $100 million domestically on a $15,000 production budget. (Yes, the studio spent several times that money touching it up and advertising it, but still, a handsome profit.) But take a cursory glance at comment boards and aggregate review sites and you’ll see a polarized response to the original, with seemingly no guarantee that the masses would turn out for more. In that respect, the $41.5 million brought in by Paranormal Activity 2 over the weekend counts as a major surprise, especially since the film more or less repeats the formula that so divided people the first time around. Then again, the film was given an unusually wide berth: Only Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, expanding to multiplexes after opening in big-city arthouses last week, offered any competition, and its modest $12 million didn’t post much of a threat. Like all horror films, second week grosses stand to drop sharply, particularly with the Saw franchise coughing up another entry on Friday, but with a $3 million budget—$2.95 million of which appears to have gone up the producer’s nose—Paranormal Activity 2 is already a massive hit, and the series looks to keep going long after its creative life is exhausted.
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