Weekend Report: 'Insidious Chapter 2' Gets Lucky on Friday the 13th

Opening on Friday the 13th, horror sequel Insidious Chapter 2 scared up an excellent $41 million this weekend. Meanwhile, Luc Besson's The Family had a decent debut as well.

The Top 12 earned an estimated $90.3 million this weekend, which is up a whopping 31 percent from the same period last year.

Insidious 2's $41 million debut is over three times as high as its predecessor's $13.3 million opening, which is an incredible improvement for a sequel. It's also about on par with director James Wan's The Conjuring, which opened to $41.9 million in July. This is only the second time ever that a director has had two movies open over $40 million in the same year—the Wachowski siblings did it in 2003 withThe Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

The month of September is typically a slow one at the box office, so Insidious 2's opening ranks second all-time behind last year's Hotel Transylvania ($42.5 million). Overall, it ranks third among supernatural horror movies—behind Paranormal Activity 3 and The Conjuring—and is distributor FilmDistrict's top debut ever ahead of March'sOlympus Has Fallen ($30.4 million).

Insidious Chapter 2
's success can be attributed to its excellent release date and its predecessor's strong reputation. Friday the 13th is considered to be haunted, and as a result studios have had great success releasing horror movies on this date. That worked out for Insidious Chapter 2: it made around half of its money on Friday, which suggests that the release date was a major draw.
The producers—led by horror movie expert Jason Blum—also made the smart decision to keep what worked in the first movie: Insidious Chapter 2 had the same cast, director, and visual aesthetic. That tends to be the best way to handle sequels, whether in the horror genre or not.

This has been a phenomenal year for horror so far. Insidious Chapter 2 is the fifth horror movie to open in first place this year with over $25 million; ordered by release date, the others are MamaEvil DeadThe Purge andThe Conjuring.

The movie's audience was 52 percent male—high for a horror movie—and 62 percent under the age of 25. It received a very good "B+" CinemaScore, which suggests it will have decent holds. Still, horror movies have a tendency to be very frontloaded, and it's unlikely that Insidious Chapter 2 makes it past $100 million.

In a distant second place, The Family opened to an estimated $14.5 million from 3,091 theaters. That's a solid start for the mob comedy—it ranks second all-time for director Luc Besson, and sixth all-time for distributor Relativity Media. Its audience was 54 percent female and 83 percent over the age of 25; unfortunately, it received a terrible "C" CinemaScore, which suggests it will fall pretty quickly.

In its second weekend, Riddick plummeted 63 percent to an estimated $7.01 million. Through 10 days in theaters, the sci-fi sequel has earned $31.3 million.

Lee Daniels' The Butler
 dropped 34 percent to an estimated $5.6 million. On Sunday, it's expected to pass $100 million, which makes it the fifth Weinstein Company movie to ever reach that milestone.

We're the Millers
 rounded out the Top Five with $5.4 million, which is off just 30 percent from last weekend. The road trip comedy has earned an excellent $131.6 million so far.

Spanish-language family comedy Instructions Not Included fell 48 percent to an estimated $4.28 million. It's now grossed $26.6 million, and could ultimately end its run around $35 million.

Sony released a "Fan Cut" of One Direction: This is Us this weekend, and as a result the movie dipped a comparatively light 41 percent to $2.4 million. To date, the 3D concert flick has taken in $26.9 million.

Around-the-World Roundup

The Smurfs 2
 led the foreign box office this weekend with $17.6 million. Over half of that came from China, where the movie opened in first place with $10.2 million. It also debuted in Australia, where it took in $2 million. To date, the family sequel has grossed $220 million overseas.

White House Down
 added $13 million this weekend, which included unimpressive debuts in the U.K. ($1.8 million) and Spain ($1.3 million). The Roland Emmerich-directed action movie has so far banked $98 million at the foreign box office.

 earned $10.7 million from 40 territories this weekend. It had solid starts in Mexico ($2.6 million) and Brazil ($1.9 million). To date, Planes has earned $55.8 million overseas, and still has Australia, France, Italy and Japan on the way.

 grossed $9.6 million this weekend for an early total of $22 million. It opened well in Russia ($4.3 million), but was less impressive in Australia ($1.1 million).

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• 'Insidious 2' Poised to Possess Audiences on Friday the 13th

This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2012 - 'Resident Evil 5,' 'Nemo 3D' Lead Another Slow Weekend
• 2011 - 'Lion King' Reclaims Box Office Crown
• 2010 - 'The Town' Bustles
• 2009 - Moviegoers Feast on 'Meatballs,' Slim Pickings for 'Jennifer'
• 2007 - 'Brave One' Leads Slow Weekend
• 2006 - 'Gridiron Gang' Tops Flabby Weekend
• 2005 - 'Just Like Heaven' No Cure for Box Office Blahs