Insidious 2 makes $41m at box office

Box office analysts had projected the film's debut would rake in $32 million.

Box office analysts had projected the film's debut would take in $32 million. Picture: Stock.xchng

NEW YORK - Low-budget horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 grabbed moviegoers searching for a Friday the 13th scare, winning the US 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 Hollywood.com'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 whopping 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." Those factors, not to mention its Friday the 13th release date, helped drive the huge opening, he said.

In the Insidious sequel, the haunted Lambert family tries to uncover the childhood secret that has left them connected to spirits.

Box office analysts had projected the film's debut would take in $32 million.

Among the other top movies, civil rights drama Lee Daniels' The Butler took the No. 4 spot with $5.6 million, just ahead of the Jennifer Aniston comedy We're the Millers, which landed in fifth with $5.4 million.