2011 saw a box office slump like nothing before it. But as 2012 kicks off, Hollywood is hopeful that fans will come back to the theater with such big titles as The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel's the Avengers, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Amazing Spider-Man all waiting in the wings.

The first real big release weekend of the year has kicked off things in fashion, with the low budge horror film The Devil Inside earning an unprecedented, and unexpected, $16.8 million on Friday, its day of release ($2 million of which came from midnight screenings).

Paranormal Activity 3 was the last horror film to open this big, which was way back in October. Paramount released both films, and it looks like they have another potential franchise on their hands.

The Devil Inside was acquired by the studio for $1 million dollars, with a little more than $15 million being spent on promoting this faux documentary about the world of underground exorcisms. While the movie has been garnering horrible reviews, and even disdain from audience members for its abrupt ending, The Devil Inside is looking to pull in over $30 million, which sails way past its purported budget.

We will have the final box office numbers for you tomorrow, which should go to prove that theater attendance is up +18% from this time last year. 2012 may just shape up to be a very lucrative year at the movies.