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The Devil Inside takes US top spot with record-breaking sum

The Devil Inside

Story by Jack Foley

MICRO budget horror film The Devil Inside has shot to the top of the US box office with a record-breaking $34.5 million to confound expectations and raise New Year cheer for distributors licking their wounds after last year’s poor returns.

The film was distributed by Paramount, last year’s box office champion among distributors and who managed to acquire the rights to the film for only $1 million, and recorded the biggest opening of all time for early January.

It also registered the third biggest for the month after fellow Paramount title Cloverfield ($40.1 million) and George Lucas’ 1997 re-issue of Star Wars ($35.9 million). Those two films were released in late January.

The Devil Inside‘s success was all the more surprising given its polarising critical reception from both journalists and movie-goers, who exited either having loved or loathed it.

But it did benefit from a smart advertising campaign that included the release of a trailer on Christmas Eve that prompted world-wide chatter on the Internet.

Megan Colligan, Paramount president of domestic marketing and distribution, also pointed towards the effort to make the film seem real, evidenced by the slogan “the film the Vatican doesn’t want you to see”.

“The campaign was very scary and it was intended to push the envelope,” Colligan said. “The conversation online became very robust.”

Elsewhere at the US box office, David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo enjoyed the best hold of any film in wide release, falling only 24 percent to $11.3 million for a domestic total so far of $76.8 million.

Christmas winner Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol still pulled them in, though, grossing a further $20.5 million to take its US total so far to $170.2 milion.

Overseas, it has also now grossed $287.9 million for a whopping world-wide total of $458.1 million.

The US top five, meanwhile, reads as The Devil Inside, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Lower down in the top 10, meanwhile, are two Steven Spielberg releases that are continuing to perform well: War Horse, at six, which has now taken $64.4 million domestically, and The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, at eight, which has now grossed $61.9 million.

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