"The Devil Inside" Shocks with $34.5 Million Opening Weekend

The new horror flick is scaring away critics but not audiences

By Patrick Hickey Jr.
|  Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012  |  Updated 5:59 AM EDT
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A woman whose mother allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism travels to Rome to attend a number of unauthorized exorcisms. Opens Jan. 6.

A woman whose mother allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism travels to Rome to attend a number of unauthorized exorcisms. Opens Jan. 6.

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There’s a new box office sleeper in town.

In spite of largely negative reviews, Paramount’s new low-budget horror flick “The Devil Inside” opened up to massive $2 million midnight runs Thursday and has so far brought in $34.5 million its first weekend.

Powered by an ad campaign on Twitter, Facebook and television, the film has already made back its reported $1 million budget and has scared Tom Cruise’s newest “Mission Impossible" sequel, "Ghost Protocol," out of the number one spot — a place it claimed Dec. 20.

Shot in a documentary style, William Brent Bell’s "The Devil Inside" tells the story of a woman who enlists the help of renegade priests to uncover the truth about her allegedly possessed and estranged mother.

Before its debut, Paramount believed the movie, which uses the same first-person techniques as other successful horror flicks such as "The Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity," would gross $8 to $10 million.

But the film has benefited from being the only new wide release this weekend, stealing audiences away from big-budget blockbusters such as "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

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