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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The "Saw" horror franchise is not as sharp as it used to be, but the seventh -- and reportedly -- final entry in the annual Halloween franchise managed to take the top spot at the weekend box office in North America, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.
"Saw 3D" earned $24.2 million during the three days beginning on Friday, in line with muted expectations, but still the series' third-lowest opening.
Last year's disappointing "Saw VI" launched to just $14.1 million, crushed by the "Paranormal Activity" chiller. The four entries before that all opened at No. 1 with more than $30 million each. The first film in distributor Lionsgate's lucrative series, opened at No. 3 in 2004 with $14.1 million.
Last weekend's champion, "Paranormal Activity 2," slipped to No. 2 with $16.5 million, taking the 10-day haul for Paramount Pictures' scary movie sequel to $65.7 million.
Summit Entertainment's Bruce Willis-led crime ensemble "Red" held at No. 3 with $10.8 million, giving it a $58.9 million total after three weekends.
The only other new entry in the top 10 was Fox Searchlight's Hilary Swank legal drama "Conviction," which jumped 15 places to No. 10 with $1.8 million in its first weekend of wide release.
Lionsgate is a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Summit Entertainment is privately held. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of News Corp.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Sandra Maler