No September or October release has grossed more in its opening weekend as Blumhouse Productions and Paramount’s well-reviewed horror sequel crushed all comers.

Paranormal Activity 3 also ruled the international charts thanks to an estimated $26m haul and this will provide ample evidence – is any were needed – that the studio and lead producer Jason Blum own a robust Halloween franchise that could run for years.

The Three Musketeers arrived with a whimper through Summit Entertainment and opened in fourth place on $8.8m. Constantin produced and Paul WS Anderson directed the 3D adventure, which is gathering momentum internationally and has raced past $60m in little time through Summit International’s network of buyers.

Universal’s Rowan Atkinson vehicle Johnny English Reborn is another new entry that failed to impress after ranking eighth on $3.8m. In a further illustration of the occasional divergence between domestic and international box office, the spy spoof has triumphed outside North America, where it has already amassed more than $100m.

The Mighty Macs opened through Freestyle outside the top 10 on $1.1m, while Roadside Attractions scored a solid limited debut for its Sundance hit Margin Call. The financial crisis ensemble drama took $582,000 from 56 sites for a $10,393 average. The cast includes Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Zach Quinto, Demi Moore and Jeremy Irons.

And there was a spectacular launch too for another hit from Utah as Martha Marcy May Marlene opened through Fox Searchlight on $138,000 from four for a $34,500 average. Elizabeth Olsen stars as a woman who flees a cult.

Next weekend’s wide releases are DreamWorks Animations’ Puss In Boots voiced by Antonio Banderas; Fox’s sci-fi thriller In Time starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried; and FilmDistrict’s drama The Rum Diary with Johnny Depp and directed by Bruce Robinson.

Estimated Top 10 North America Oct 21-23, 2011
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Paranormal Activity 3 (Paramount) PPI $54m –
2 (1) Real Steel (Buena Vista-DWKs) WDSMPI $11.3m $67.2m
3 (2) Footloose (Paramount) PPI $10.9m $30.9m
4 (-) The Three Musketeers (Summit) Summit Int’l $8.8m –
5 (4) The Ides Of March (Columbia) Exclusive Films Int’l $4.9m $29.2m
6 (5) Dolphin Tale (Warner Bros) WBPI $4.2m $64.4m
7 (6) Moneyball (Sony) SPRI $4.1m $63.7m
8 (-) Johnny English Reborn (Universal) UPI $3.8m –
9 (3) The Thing (Universal) UPI-Morgan Creek Int’l $3.1m $14.1m
10 (7) 50/50 (Summit) Lionsgate $2.8m $28.8m