UPDATED: Weekend Estimates: 'Michael Jackson's This Is It' and 'Paranormal Activity'

Featured Stories - on November 01, 2009 by Phil Contrino

As expected, Michael Jackson's This Is It finished in first place, followed by Paranormal Activity.


Sunday Morning Update (10:26 a.m. PT): Even though it didn't live up to expectations, Michael Jackson's This Is It has grossed a solid $101 million worldwide since opening last Wednesday. Click here to read this weekend's full report.

Saturday Morning Update (10:30 a.m. PT): Michael Jackson's This Is It is set to top the box office this weekend, but the highly anticipated concert documentary will fall short of its massive pre-release expectations. Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity is on pace for a very strong second place finish. Click here to read the full report.

Thursday Afternoon Update (3:00 p.m. PT): Michael Jackson's This Is It debuted with $7.45 million on Wednesday. While that was a solid gross for a weekday in October, it represented a slower start than was originally expected. As a result, expectations for the weekend have been downgraded, but This Is It should still win the weekend by a comfortable margin.

Paramount will expand Paranormal Activity into an additional 457 locations this weekend, which should allow the film to hold up rather nicely once again.

Check out our final Top 10 predictions in the table below.

Weekend Predictions: October 30 to November 1, 2009
Title Gross (M) Cume (M) Locations Inc./Dec.
1 Michael Jackson's This Is It $38.0 $50.0 3,481 New
2 Paranormal Activity $16.5 $84.7 2,402 +457
3 Law Abiding Citizen $7.7 $51.8 2,764 -126
4 Where the Wild Things Are $7.3 $64.0 3,645 -90
5 Couples Retreat $6.5 $87.0 3,027 -47
6 Saw VI $6.0 $23.2 3,036 0
7 The Stepfather $3.7 $25.0 2,346 -388
8 Astro Boy $3.5 $11.4 3,020 +6
9 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant $3.4 $11.1 2,754 0
10 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $3.3 $119.1 2,322 -419

Multiplexes across the country will be dominated by a deceased musical icon this weekend as Sony unleashes Michael Jackson's This Is It at 3,400 locations.

The film has already grossed $2.2 million from midnight shows and its Wednesday and Thursday numbers promise to be strong heading into what is bound to be a record-breaking weekend. This Is It should easily trump the $31.1 million debut of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. which currently holds the record for the best opening weekend of any concert film. The Disney release was also billed as a limited engagement before hanging around in theaters for 15 weeks and grossing $65.3 million. According to various exhibition sources, Sony probably will almost certainly leave the This Is It in theaters for more than the planned two-week period.

Online sales for This Is It have remained consistently strong. The film landed in the #15 spot on MovieTickets.com's Top 25 Advance Ticket Sellers of All Time list, and as of 3 p.m. PT it's responsible for 70 percent of daily sales. On Fandango.com, the film is the #3 seller of the year, and as of 2 p.m. PT This Is It is responsible for 72 percent of daily sales. According to Harry Medved of Fandango, there has been an increase in sales since positive reviews started popping up online.

" This Is It is really hitting in all demographic groups at Flixster," says John Singh, a spokesperson for the site. "If there's a soft spot it's older males—but at the same time, one of the audiences showing the biggest interest is under-25 males. It's certainly the movie with the highest want-to-see at Flixster this weekend, by far, with overall activity up 160% over last week."

Based on how its performing already, it seems likely that This Is It will bring in $48 million from Friday to Sunday and a five-day total of $77 million. The rush to see the film will also mean that its grosses are going to be very front loaded, so a steady decline after this weekend is likely.

With audiences taking part in Halloween activities, the atmosphere is still ideal for another strong weekend from Paranormal Activity. Paramount's word-of-mouth success showed its strength in a major way last weekend by trumping Saw VI at the box office. PA will maintain a lot of that momentum this weekend, and it will represent a viable alternative for moviegoers who are not big Michael Jackson fans.

Expect PA to add another $15 million to its impressive haul. Reaching the $100 million plateau looks like a sure thing at this point for the little horror movie that could.

After being upset by Paranormal Activity last weekend, Saw VI should suffer a significant drop of at least 55 percent during its sophomore frame. The latest installment of the popular series will make around $6 million this weekend. Lionsgate is probably crossing its fingers and hoping that the franchise's audience will return for Saw VII in 3D next year.

Check back tomorrow for our Top 10 weekend predictions as well as official location counts.

Additional reporting by Daniel Garris.

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