SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: Abbreviated box office tonight because of tsunami evacuation for all islands of Hawaii where I’m vacationing.

But this was a lame weekend for newcomers at the domestic box office after a string of strong weekends - only $90M, which is -12% down from last year. The question mark is Hurricane Sandy’s impact on grosses even though it’s just beginning to move up the Eastern Seaboard. ”Nothing called Frankenstorm is inviting people to go out of their houses,” rued one movie executive predicting 25% less grosses than forecast for this weekend. “It looks like people are shopping for bottled water and putting up their storm shutters instead of going to the movies.” Final numbers depend on whether the storm hits the most populated areas Sunday or Monday. ”OK, people – let’s step away from The Weather Channel and go to a theater!!!” one studio exec implored by email. We’ll see soon enough.

Related: ‘Skyfall’ In UK Smashes Opening Records

Interestingly, 4 of the Top 5 films are all R-rated  Ben Affleck’s Oscar-buzzed holdover Argo (2,855 theaters) easily won the weekend with $12.5M. But that’s still the 2nd lowest #1 of the year.  The Wachowskis’ epic drama Cloud Atlas (2,008 theaters, including 105 IMAX screens) starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry received a mountain of pre-release press and was #2 this weekend even with only a ‘C+’ CinemaScore from audiences. Problem is, pic cost $100+M. Even with #1 and #2 at the box office, Warner Bros has no bragging rights given these low grosses.

Halloween holdovers follow - Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania edged out Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 4. Rounding out the Top 5 is Open Road Films’ horror opener Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2,933 theaters) which debuted #5 with the worst CinemaScore of all the newcomers: a ‘C’. . The other newcomers fell apart: Paramount’s small Victoria Justice teen comedy Fun Size debuted #11th with a CinemaScore of ‘B’. While the Gerard Butler surfing newcomer Chasing Mavericks from Walden Media and distributed by Fox arrived only 12th. Shame because it had the best CinemaScore of the bunch – ‘B+’.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates. Full analysis later:

1. Argo (Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 2,855] R
Friday $3.9M), Saturday $5.5M, Weekend $12.5M, Cume $61.0M

2. Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros) Warner Bros NEW [Runs 2,008] R
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $9.5M,

3. Hotel Transylvania (Sony Animation) Week 5 [Runs 3,276] PG
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $4.0, Weekend $9.0M, Cume $129.9M

4. Paranormal Activity 4 (Paramount) Week 2 [Runs 3,412] R
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $3.5M, Weekend $8.6M (-70%), Cume $42.5M

5. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (Open Road) New [Runs 2,933] R
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $8.5M

6. Taken 2 (Fox) Week 4 [Runs 2,995] PG13
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.6M, Weekend $8.0M, Cume $117.4M

7. Here Comes The Boom (Sony) Week 3 [Runs 2,491] PG
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.5M, Weekend $5.5M, Cume $30.6M

8. Alex Cross (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 2 [Runs 2,541] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.2M (-55%), Cume $19.5M

9. Sinister (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 3 [Runs 2,347] R
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.1M, Weekend $5.0M, Cume $39.4M

10. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 5 [Runs 1,999]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $51.3M

11. Fun Size (Paramount) NEW [Runs 3,014] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $3.8M

12. Chasing Mavericks (Walden/Fox) NEW [Runs 2,002] PG
Friday $825K, Saturday $875K, Weekend $2.2M

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.