Paranormal Activity: The Marked OnesThe only new box office offering this weekend, horror film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opened decently on Thursday night for $1.2M in 1,600 theaters. Paramount estimates show the picture on track to a midteen-millions 3-day weekend, though bad weather in the Northeast is impacting box office. The hilarious thing is that the studio is calling it “a new franchise.” To audiences, the franchise is associated with the title. To be fair this one has been recast with Hispanic actors this time around (which could be a smart move). How this film will do in the long run will be interesting to watch. The studio says it’s only a $5M budget (who knows?).

Horror movies, as a rule, are hard to track and audiences for these kind of films can either flock or flee depending on the film. Carrie opened to $16.1M but then clearly underperformed, grossing only $35.2 for its distributor Screen Gems. On the other hand, Mama, which also opened in January, ended up grossing more than $71M domestically for Universal. Paramount-Pictures-LogoStudios have in recent years looked to January as the time to open horror movies — sometimes they work, and other times they don’t. One Missed Call, which was a remake of the successful Japanese horror film, opened the same weekend in 2008 to $12.5M and grossed $26.8M for Warner Bros, while Cursed open at the beginning of the year (in February) and underperformed. For Paramount’s Paranormal Activity franchise itself, it’s been up and down at the domestic box office but worldwide they have all made beaucoup bucks. Last year’s incarnation (the fourth in the series) opened to $29M on double the screens of The Marked Ones and went on to gross $53.9M domestically; but its worldwide cume was $142.8M, whereas 2011’s Paranormal Activity 3 made $104M domestically and equaled that internationally. Comparatively, The Devil Inside, also released the first week of January by Paramount, grossed $2.2M its first day out. That 2012 picture had 2,285 screens, opened to $33.7M and ended up with $101M worldwide.

NOTEWORTHY: Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire just sneaked over the $400M mark, as expected, last night. And in 42 days (in its 6th week) The original Hunger Games grossed $408M domestically during its run in 2012 in 80 days.