Michael Jackson is really the only one who can take on Halloween weekend and win. The annual holiday is known for being a box office killer, especially when it falls on a Saturday night, so it’s no wonder Sony Pictures slotted This is It for a Wednesday bow. No other major release was scheduled for the weekend, so uber-fans will come out early and perhaps often considering Jackson’s favorite holiday, big shocker, was All Hallow’s Eve. The studio has been working overtime to tamp down expectations for the concert film they spent $60 million for the right to release. Wednesday’s gross of $20 million worldwide ($7.4 domestically, $12.7 internationally) proves that this film will be a worldwide phenomenon with its international receipts far out-grossing what it makes in the U.S. If Jackson isn’t your bag, this weekend there will be more horror on display with Paranormal Activity continuing its impressive run while Saw VI tries to eek out a profit after getting slayed last weekend in theaters. Read on for predictions.

1. This is It: $21 million

Even non-Michael Jackson fans are coming back from this film exuberant over what director Kenny Ortega has done with the 120 hours of rehearsal footage of Jackson’s final days. So now it’s up to the fans to show up in theaters and make this film a success. There’s no doubt that Sony will recoup its investment on This is It but what the movie becomes is a complete wild card. I think the film will get close to $35 million for its first five days domestically. But again there’s Halloween and two World Series games competing for attention.

2. Paranormal Activity: $13 million

This low-budget wonder has already grossed $65 million, becoming the most profitable movie of all time. What Paranormal Activity does from now on really doesn’t matter. A sequel is underway, stars Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston have already received the huge jump start on their career, and director Oren Peli is already making his second movie. Paranormal has out-Blair-Witched Blair Witch. Reaching $100 million shouldn’t be bad for this $11,000 film.

3. Law Abiding Citizen: $7 million

Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx have already pulled in $42 million for this film. Another 40% drop is likely this weekend, giving this inexpensive actioner a solid $50 million gross.

Spike Jonze’s meditation on childhood has made $55 million, not enough for this expensive film. Parents seem to be leaving their children at home, which isn’t a bad thing but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t see it themselves. It’s worth the two hours of their time.

5. Couples Retreat: $6 million

It doesn’t matter that critics hate this film. The Vince Vaughn-starrer has already grossed $79 million and comes as a well-needed hit for the struggling Universal Pictures. Last weekend it fell only 38%, proving that audiences want a good comedy right now. This weekend expect another 40% drop off, which would put the movie in striking distance of $100 million.

Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur