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January 7, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The first film to open wide in the new year is one that was not screened for critics, a horror movie titled The Devil Inside. (It has to do with exorcisms. “Inside,” get it?) Paramount’s Insurge unit, which reportedly acquired the R-rated film for less than $1 million, has reportedly spent far more than that to produce an intriguing — and scary — trailer and other marketing ploys, including blanketing youth-oriented TV shows with ads. The studio’s efforts are expected to pay off with a big opening of between $12 million and $17 million, according to box office forecasters. ( is predicting $23 million.) But the two Hollywood trade publications, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, offered a much-lower estimate: $8-10 million. However, the Reporter commented, “There’s always a chance of Devil Inside overperforming if word-of-mouth is good.” Word-of-mouth, however, is likely to be terrible, given comments about the movie from people who have attended audience previews. But Washington D.C. movie blogger Willie Waffle (he bills himself as “the movie critic for people who hate movie critics”), who attended one of those screenings, commented, “I can’t remember any time in my career as a movie critic when the crowd around me, winners of FREE tickets to see the movie before it was released, all started to boo. The ending for The Devil Inside was so bad and people were jeering so loudly you would have thought Mel Gibson just walked into the synagogue on Saturday.” Nevertheless, some writers are suggesting that this could be the film that will knock Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol from the top of the box office. But with a ton of movies released in December, many of them aiming for Oscar recognition, many moviegoers may be heading to the theaters to catch up on what they missed. It’s also the weekend when the critically praised Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy expands from just 57 theaters to 809. It’s expected to expand again next weekend, along with several other December releases, after the Golden Globes nominations are announced.

Daily Variety reports that The Devil Inside took in $16.9 million on Friday — far surpassing the most optimistic expectations. It now appears likely to gross over $30 million for the weekend, the trade publication observed. With just $6.2 million on Friday, the latest Mission: Impossible installment was left in the dust in second place.