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Hurricane Sandy is on a trajectory to hit the East Coast on late Sunday night or Monday morning, but the storm is already having an effect on the box office. Ticket sales were dramatically down from last Friday with "Argo" claiming the top spot with $3.9 million. Even with Halloween parties Friday and Saturday night, that's a dramatic drop from the Friday openings since the beginning of September.
A silver lining for Warner Bros., however, is that Ben Affleck's Oscar player continues to be a word of mouth wonder. "Argo" ranked no. 2 in its first weekend opposite 'Taken 2" and during its second weekend versus "Paranormal Activity 2." While the dramatic thriller has been the top film for weekday grosses, this is its first Friday at no.1. With $52.3 million so far, "Argo" should easily win the weekend with a $12-13 million take. If it continues with these relatively strong holds, "Argo" could eventually hit the $100 million mark. Its biggest competition for the older moviegoer will be the return of James Bond in "Skyfall" on Nov. 9.
"Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" took the second slot with $3.5 million. The Open Road Films horror flick should end up with $8-9 million for the weekend. Open Road has had a very up and down year trying to release a wide array of genres. It will be curious to see how the company moves forward creatively in 2013.
Debuting in third place was The Wachowskis and Tom Tywker's "Cloud Atlas." The drama grossed just $3.4 million for what could be a $10-11 million weekend. Warner Bros. acquired U.S. rights to the $100 million independently financed film. The picture will have an unusually slow rollout internationally. It won't debut in the UK until February and won't open in France until March. The final fate on "Atlas" won't be decided until then.
"Paranormal Activity 4" fell to fourth with $3.1 million and $37 million in just 8 days. That's substantially lower than where the last two "Paranormal" films were in their release patterns, but Paramount Pictures is still moving forward with a fifth installment of the franchise next year.
"Taken 2" rounded out the top five with another $2.5 million and $111.9 million to date. While a superb opening and profit center for producers Europa and distributor 20th Century Fox, the sequel won't come close to matching the first film's $145 million gross.
Also opening on Friday was Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Pictures' "Fun Size." The PG-13 comedy starring tween star Victoria Justice grossed just $1.3 million for what could be a $4 million weekend. "Fun" didn't cost much, but it's still a loss for the Viacom divisions. It's also a sign of just how weak the Nickelodeon network is as a promotional launch platform these days.
Look for complete weekend estimates Sunday on HitFix.