2 January 2014 1:41 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The fifth edition of Paramount’s formidable “Paranormal Activity” series may scare off Warner Bros.’ bid for a four-peat this weekend with “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

Early tracking shows “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” taking in around $15 million this weekend at approximately 2,800 locations — though some estimates place “The Marked Ones” closer to $20 million, where it would likely battle “Smaug” and Disney’s “Frozen” for the top slot.

“Frozen” led the way on New Year’s Day Wednesday with $8.7 million for a six-week total of $271.9 million, followed by “Smaug” with $7.8 million for $209.3 million in 20 days.

“The Marked Ones,” an offshoot of the franchise with new characters, will start showings at 10 p.m. Thursday in about 2,000 locations. The film’s budget is $5 million and producers are low-budget specialists Jason Blum and Oren Peli with Christopher Landon writing and directing.

Revolving around two Hispanic teenagers from Oxnard, Calif. (Andrew Jacobs and »

- Dave McNary

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