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Fourth "Paranormal Activity" scares off box office rivals

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Haunted house movie "Paranormal Activity 4" crept into the No. 1 spot on weekend box office charts with $30.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, studio estimates released on Sunday showed.
/ Source: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Haunted house movie "Paranormal Activity 4" crept into the No. 1 spot on weekend box office charts with $30.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, studio estimates released on Sunday showed.

The fourth installment in the low-budget horror series chronicles the strange events that happen in a neighborhood after a woman and her young child move in. The movie cost just $5 million to make.

"Paranormal Activity" finished ahead of Iran hostage drama "Argo," which collected $16.6 million at domestic theaters from Friday through Sunday. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, the movie is based on the real-life rescue of U.S. government employees from Iran in 1979.

Receipts for "Argo" dropped 15 percent from a week earlier.

The 3-D animated "Hotel Transylvania" captured third place with $13.5 million, just ahead of spy thriller "Taken 2," which grabbed $13.4 million.

"Taken 2" stars Liam Neeson as a former spy who is kidnapped in Istanbul. "Taken 2" topped box office rankings the past two weekends.

Paramount Studios, a unit of Viacom Inc, released "Paranormal Activity 4." "Argo" was distributed by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. "Taken 2" was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.

(Reporting By Lisa Richwine; editing by Patricia Reaney and Sandra Maler)