Audiences were in the mood to be frightened in theaters this weekend as the latest installment in the "Paranormal Activity" franchise came away as the box office winner, beating out the thriller "Alex Cross."
"Paranormal Activity 4" topped the weekend box office with an estimated $30.2 million, according to The Associated Press. The wire service notes that while the film had a clear victory against its competitors, the latest sequel lagged significantly behind its predecessors. "Paranormal Activity 3" opened with $52.6 million last year while "Paranormal Activity 2" opened with $40.7 million in 2010.
The fourth film in the franchise, which brought back franchise star Katie Featherston, takes place several years after the events in "Paranormal Activity 2."
Ben Affleck's "Argo" kept its second place spot from last weekend and remained at No. 2 for this weekend. The political drama earned $16.6 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film, which was directed by Affleck who also stars in the lead role, has earned $43.2 million domestically in two weeks.
In third place is the family animated film "Hotel Transylvania" which features the voices of Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez. The movie earned $13.5 million in its fourth weekend in theaters to raise its domestic total to $119 million.
The action movie "Taken 2" with Liam Neeson just missed out on third place and instead landed at the No. 4 spot with $13.4 million. The film now boasts an estimated domestic total of $106 million.
The film "Sinister" placed No. 4 at the box office and earned an estimated $9 million over the weekend. Its domestic total now stands at $32 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The other new wide release for the weekend, "Alex Cross" with Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox, had a weak debut in fifth place, earning an estimated $11.8 million.
Morgan Freeman originally played the character Alex Cross in the 1998 film "Kiss the Girls" and in the 2001 film "Along Came a Spider."
Cross is a homicide detective and psychologist who is pursuing a serial killer nicknamed Picasso played by Matthew Fox, who told OTRC.com at the film's premiere that he dropped 35 pounds to play the role.
Watch the trailers for "Sinister," "Argo," "Alex Cross" and "Paranormal Activity 4" below.