It’s shaping up to be a middling weekend at the box office, with both new releases — horror sequel “Paranormal Activity 4” and Tyler Perry’s action thriller “Alex Cross” — posting lower than expected Friday openings.

“Paranormal” raked in an estimated $15 million on Friday, putting it in line to gross about $34 million for the weekend. That’s a terrific number considering the film’s reported $5 million budget, but it’s a lot less terrific in comparison with the previous two sequels in the series: “Paranormal 2” opened to $40.7 million, while “Paranormal 3” hit $52.6 million its first weekend. Audiences reportedly gave “Paranormal 4” a poor CinemaScore grade of ‘C’, signaling the spooky found footage franchise may be losing its appeal.

Meanwhile, Perry’s transformation into an action star as novelist James Patterson’s beloved detective “Alex Cross” isn’t living up to the standard of either Perry’s Madea movies or the previous Cross films starring Morgan Freeman (“Along Came a Spider,” “Kiss the Girls”). With a low $4 million debut on Friday (less than the third week of action hit “Taken 2”), “Cross” is likely to pull in around $13 million for the weekend. Those moviegoers who saw it, however, were more receptive than critics, giving the film an ‘A’ in CinemaScore polling.

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is holding extremely well in its second week, suggesting Hollywood really should be making more movies for adults.

Full weekend estimates will be available tomorrow.

Friday estimates (top 5):

1. “Paranormal Activity 4” $15 million
2. “Argo” $5.1 million
3. “Taken 2” $4.3 million
4. “Alex Cross” $4 million
5. “Hotel Transylvania” $3.6 million

Posted by:gberkshire