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The history of Hollywood is littered with low budget horror movies that wildly exceeded expectations. From Paranormal Activity to Saw, these films have not only generated incredible returns on initial investments, they’ve launched lucrative franchises, and if this weekend’s early estimates hold up, it seems a new horror movie may add its name to that pool of brilliant and bloody successes.
According to HitFix, The Purge, produced on a modest $3 million budget, raked in an incredible $16.7 million on Friday. Over the course of the weekend, the total grosses could approach $40 million, which will be enough to pummel second and third place entries The Internship and Fast & Furious 6, both of which are expected to fall on the wrong side of $20 million.
For The Internship, this weekend will likely go down more as a disappointment than a disaster. The film grossed an estimated $6.5 million on Friday and will likely reach about $19 million for the weekend, which isn’t pathetic but also isn’t a dream come true, especially given how successful Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have been. No doubt executives thought they’d cruise to a weekend victory here, but there’s no way they could have predicted The Purge would be a runaway hit.
As for Fast 6, the film continues chugging along like an unstoppable juggernaut. With $6.1 million on Friday and about $19 million for the weekend, it should easily surpass $200 million at the North American box office, which is all gravy since the film made more than $300 million overseas.
We’ll have a full breakdown of the box office for you later this weekend once the estimates become a little more official.