Like some cliché campier story, the “Paranormal Activity” franchise returns every year to haunt the box office and terrorize any other film unfortunate enough to be released that same weekend. The Los Angeles Times claims that “Paranormal Activity 4” is likely to beat Tyler Perry’s new thriller “Alex Cross.”

The Times makes the bold claim that the new suspense horror film will “easily” win the box office duel against Perry’s film, with expected earnings of $50 million. This figure is projected from surveys from audiences who saw pre-release screenings and ticket sales from the early release at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

Film distributors at Paramount Pictures estimate a $35 million to $40 million release, but this could be presented so the company can claim the film exceeded expectations.

The film’s high box office expectations come in direct contrast with the film’s reviews, which have gained the film a miniscule 28 percent fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience rating remains positive with a 74 percent freshness rating.

“The franchise that capitalized on the found-footage craze has gotten lost,” writes USA Today critic Claudia Puig. “There's virtually nothing new in the dull Paranormal Activity 4… except for a modification in the method of documenting the spooky shenanigans. Most of the creepy stuff is recorded via a laptop webcam or video chats instead of a standard video camera.”

The detective thriller from Summit starring Perry is expected to gross approximately $14.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo. “Alex Cross” is based on the best-selling novel by James Patterson, which was previously adapted to cinema, with Morgan Freeman playing Cross in Kiss the Girls (1997) and Along Came a Spider (2001).

The “Paranormal Activity” franchise knows how to make money, even without spending it. The found-footage series has only cost roughly $10 million over the course of four films, and has earned $576 million worldwide, according to

“Taken 2” is expected to be bumped from one to five at the box office, after two weeks at the top. Box Office Mojo reports that Liam Neeson’s latest action film will likely earn a mere $11.8 million, down 46 percent and falling behind “Paranormal Activity 4,” “Alex Cross,” “Argo” which is expected to earn $14.3 million and “Hotel Transylvania” which looks to gross $12.4 million.

The world was introduced to “Paranormal Activity” in 2009, two years after the film made its theatrical debut. Since then, a sequel has been produced annually, with high grosses and low production costs.

This will be the first installment with the exception of the ending of “Paranormal Activity 2” to take place after the events of the first film. Taking place in 2011, the film reveals what happens to Katie and her kidnapped nephew Hunter (now going by Robby) after the two disappeared following the supernatural events of the previous films.

The second film in the series takes place in the weeks leading up to the original, and part three goes back to the childhoods of Katie and her sister, Kristi, when the two girls first encounter the malicious spirits that haunt them years later.