'Insidious' haunts De Niro's 'Family' at box office

05:00 AM, Sep 15, 2013

Patrick Wilson offers cheap thrills in 'Insidious Chapter 2.' Matt Kennedy/


Written By by Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

Cheap scares continue to frighten the daylights out of Hollywood’s biggest stars and pricier competition.

Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer became the latest casualties of low-budget terror as the critically panned, $5 million sequel Insidious Chapter 2 devoured their Mob comedy The Family this weekend at the box office.

Insidious collected $41.1 million, according to studio estimates, coasting to an easy win at theaters and marking the latest fright flick shot on a shoestring budget to vanquish competing movies with deeper wallets.

Analysts already were expecting solid numbers from Insidious, which follows June’s $3 million The Purge and January’s $15 million Mama, both of which became surprise No. 1 hits.

Forecasters expected Insidious to do $25 million. By Friday night, it had already scared up $20 million.

Ray Subers of Box Office Mojo says the film proved invulnerable to critics’ barbs — only 37% of the nation’s reviewers liked the sequel, says Rottentomatoes.com — because fans were already sold on the haunted house story from the 2011 original, which did $54 million.

And the calendar didn’t hurt, Subers says.

He says the Patrick Wilson film surged by “combining goodwill from the first movie with a Friday the 13th release date.” The fortuitous timing “gives the impression that this is a major horror event,” Subers says.

The debut was major enough to leave De Niro and Pfeiffer accepting silver medals. The $30 million Family took second place with $14.5 million, beating most analysts’ modest expectations.

The Vin Diesel sci-fi thriller Riddick took third with $7 million, followed by Lee Daniels’ The Butler with $5.6 million.

Jennifer Aniston’s comedy We’re the Millers rounded out the top five with $5.4 million.

Final figures are expected Monday.