The 'Saw' franchise has had a lock on Halloween box office success since the first film debuted in 2004, consistently defeating all pretenders to the crown and grossing more than $370 million for the six films combined. But 'Saw VI' stumbled last year, taking in just $27 million, about half of what its predecessor made. Were people tired of the formula or were they, instead, catching up with 'Paranormal Activity'?
Opening in just 12 theaters at the end of September, 'Paranormal Activity' packed the screenings to the rafters and generated tremendous word of mouth, as in "you've got to see this." As distributor Paramount opened the film in more markets and on more screens, the audience grew until its wide opening on October 23, when it handily beat 'Saw VI,' $27 million to $17 million, despite playing in 1,000 fewer theaters, as recorded at Box Office Mojo.