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'Insidious' Sequel Scares Up Box-Office Success

By Sandy Cohen

LOS ANGELES -- Moviegoers had an appetite for fright this weekend, sending Insidious: Chapter 2 to the top of the box office.

The haunted-house horror sequel debuted in first place with $41 million, more than tripling the opening take of the 2010 original.

Debuting on Friday the 13th, FilmDistrict's Insidious: Chapter 2 scored the highest September opening day ever, said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com.

"It was a perfect release date for this movie," he said. "James Wan has cracked the code on making great horror movies."

The director had another first-place opener earlier this summer with The Conjuring, another haunted-house thriller starring Patrick Wilson. Wilson returns in Insidious 2, playing a husband and father with some scary personal baggage.

FilmDistrict's president of distribution, Jim Orr, said the film's ticket sales nearly doubled studio expectations.

"It's great to be in business with Blumhouse Productions and James Wan," he said. "They're just ridiculously talented and delivered a phenomenal film."

Another newcomer, the Robert De Niro-Michelle Pfeiffer crime caper The Family, opened in second place with $14.5 million. That bumped last week's champ, Riddick, to third.

Lee Daniels' The Butler continued its strong performance with a fourth-place finish that saw North American ticket sales cross the $100 million mark.

The Jennifer Aniston-Jason Sudeikis road-trip comedy We're the Millers rounded out the top five.

Both The Butler and We're the Millers have been in theaters for more than a month, contributing to a hearty box-office that's been up the past four consecutive weeks after a record-breaking summer season.

"These movies have legs week after week, and that's bolstering the entire marketplace," Dergarabedian said. "If you just have the brand-new movies doing well and the holdovers are dropping like rocks, then you have a problem."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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