Frightening ‘Insidious 2’ a surprise hit

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Frightening ‘Insidious 2’ a surprise hit

Low-budget horror sequel “Insidious: Chapter 2” grabbed moviegoers searching for a Friday the 13th scare, winning the U.S. and Canadian weekend box office race over the Robert De Niro mobster comedy “The Family” and setting a record for a September opening day.

The fright flick about a family haunted by spirits far exceeded forecasts with just over $41 million in ticket sales over its first three days, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Just over $20 million in sales came on its Friday the 13th release date, marking a new single-day record for September that had been held by “Sweet Home Alabama” with $13.1 million, according to’s box office division.

“The Family” took in $14.5 million to finish the weekend in second place. Last weekend’s winner, Vin Diesel sci-fi sequel “Riddick,” fell to the No. 3 slot collecting $7 million.

The “Insidious” sequel is the latest film from low-budget horror filmmaker Jason Blum, the producer behind the successful “Paranormal Activity” franchise. The first “Insidious,” released in April 2011, opened with $13 million and went on to gross $97 million around the world.

The new film was produced for $5 million and features Patrick Wilson, star of summer horror hit “The Conjuring.” Both “Insidious 2” and “The Conjuring” were directed by James Wan.

Jim Orr, president of distribution for FilmDistrict, “Insidious 2’s” distributor, said the big total far exceeded the studio’s expectations of an opening of somewhere in the mid-$20 millions, “so to have numbers like that is just incredible.”

Orr noted that the first “Insidious” “generated a lot of goodwill, people really liked it, and this film was seamless with the first.”

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