Paramount's horror sequel nabs $6.3 million Thursday night

Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity 2″ scared up a record-setting midnight gross Thursday night, totaling $6.3 million on 1,800 screens, which makes it the highest ever R-rated midnight take, as well as the new late night benchmark for an October release.

“Paranormal 2″ beat previous R-rated record holder “Watchmen,” which totaled $4.6 million in 2009, while Par’s “Jackass 3D” held its $2.5 million record for only one week.

Par heavily promoted midnight screenings for “Paranormal 2,” with TV spots tubthumping the pic’s release date Thursday at midnight.

The studio’s previous “Paranormal” installment went wide in its fifth week of release, earning a chart-topping $21.1 million. Par quietly rolled out the first pic during sold-out midnight screenings only.

Par had based pre-weekend estimates for “Paranormal 2″ on the first film’s initial wide perf, but today cited higher expectations based on the sequel’s midnight take. “Paranormal 2″ expands this weekend to 3,216 locations.

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