By Ryan Faughnder
11:27 AM PST, January 3, 2014
Paramount Pictures' "Paranormal Activity" spinoff, the only new wide-release movie at theaters this weekend, generated $1.2 million in ticket sales in late-night shows on Thursday as it entered a marketplace crowded with popular films.
The R-rated "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" played in 1,600 theaters Thursday night for a decent start for the offshoot to the lucrative found-footage fright-fest series. For comparison, Paramount's micro-budget horror film "The Devil Inside" took in about $2 million from late showings when it debuted the same weekend in 2012 and went on to gross $33.7 million through that Sunday.
Snowstorms on the East Coast may have kept some moviegoers at home, especially in major cities such as New York and Boston.
"The Marked Ones" will run in 2,800 locations in the U.S. and Canada this weekend as it tries to scare off "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and "Frozen" for the top of the box office rankings. The studio is projecting a gross of roughly $15 million through Sunday, though earlier analyst estimates were higher. "The Marked Ones" cost about $5 million to make, essentially the same as the last two "Paranormal Activity" movies.
Not a sequel to 2012's "Paranormal Activity 4," "The Marked Ones" features a mostly Latino cast and is set in the barrios of Oxnard, Calif. "Paranormal Activity 5" is scheduled for release in October.
"The Marked Ones," about a young Latino who is pegged for demonic possession, has received generally lukewarm reactions from the few critics who have reviewed it -- it has earned a 55% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, counting 31 writeups.
The film is competing with a slate that includes "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," David O. Russell's con-artist flick "American Hustle," Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks" and 20th Century Fox's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
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