Tyler Perry, Alex Cross

Summit Entertainment

Well, that didn't quite work.

Alex Cross, Tyler Perry's first starring stint outside of a movie branded as, well, Tyler Perry's, played below modest expectations at the weekend box office, debuting to a so-so $11.8 million, per estimates, and failing to expand beyond Perry's core audience.

Paranormal Activity 4 topped all films with a $30.2 million take, although, theater for theater, the Oscar contender The Sessions was the hottest ticket around—no sly nudity reference intended.

On one hand, Alex Cross played just like a Perry movie, drawing moviegoers who were predominantly African-American women over the age of 35 (and who liked the movie, grading it an A).

But this time the numbers didn't add up.

Alex Cross is Perry's lowest-grossing opener as an actor; it is the second-lowest debut of his career, after Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, which he wrote, directed and produced.

The funny or not-funny thing, depending on your perspective, is that Perry was tapped to star in Alex Cross after filmmakers ditched Idris Elba (Luther, Obsessed) because the British actor, who starred in Daddy's Little Girls, by the by, wasn't considered box office.

"Idris is great, but I don't know if he can open a movie," Alex Cross author James Patterson said in the Los Angeles Times.

Overall, Hollywood enjoyed a good weekend, with ticket sales up from last weekend and from last year.

While Paranormal Activity 4 led the way, it goes down as its franchise's lowest-opening sequel to date. This, a year after Paranormal Activity 3 blew out of the gate with a franchise-best $50 million opening.

In limited release in New York and Los Angeles, The Sessions, starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt in various states of undress, grossed $120,000 at four theaters, its studio said, and posted the weekend's best per-screen average.

Elsewhere, a slew of holdovers held well, including Ben Affleck's Argo, the animated Hotel Transylvania and Kevin James' Here Comes the Boom, which had a slow start last weekend. 

Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, per Friday-Sunday domestic estimates as reported by the studios and Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Paranormal Activity 4, $30.2 million
  2. Argo, $16.6 million
  3. Hotel Transylvania, $13.5 million
  4. Taken 2, $13.4 million
  5. Alex Cross, $11.8 million
  6. Sinister, $9 million
  7. Here Comes the Boom, $8.5 million
  8. Pitch Perfect, $7 million
  9. Frankenweenie, $4.4 million
  10. Looper, $4.2 million
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