Fright Flick 'Devil Inside' Is Suprise Hit for Hollywood

By the Associated Press | January 8, 2012 | 12:00 PM EST

In this film image released by Paramount Pictures, Suzan Crowley plays Maria, left, and Fernanda Andrade plays Isabella Rossi in a scene from "The Devil Inside." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fright flick "The Devil Inside" has scared up a monstrous $34.5 million opening weekend to help Hollywood exorcise its recent box-office demons.

The surprise hit from Paramount Pictures debuted well above industry expectations as horror fans crowded theaters for the low-budget tale about exorcists trying to free a woman possessed by evil spirits.

Paramount already is well into profit with "The Devil Inside," an independently produced movie that the studio bought for $1 million. It's the latest such low-budgeted horror acquisition for the studio, which bought "Paranormal Activity" cheaply and turned it into a $100 million sensation that was followed by two hit sequels.

"The Devil Inside" bumped another Paramount hit, Tom Cruise's "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol," from the No. 1 spot to No. 2 with $20.5 million.