LOS ANGELES: Low-budget horror film “The Purge” scared up $36.4 in ticket sales to lead the domestic box office in its first week in domestic theatres, zooming past the car-racing action film “Fast & Furious 6.”

“The Internship,” a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson based on the antics of nerds in search of a job at internet giant Google, sold $18.1 million worth of tickets to finish fourth, according to studio estimates of sales at US and Canadian theatres.

The film reunited Vaughn and Wilson who teamed to make “Wedding Crashers” in 2005. That movie generated $209.3 million in domestic ticket sales, according to the site Box Office Mojo.

The duo’s latest effort was projected by industry experts to gross a modest $17 million in ticket sales. “The Purge,” made for $3 million by the producer of the low-budget “Paranormal Activity” horror series, stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey in a futuristic story of the United States in 2022 in which the government reduces crime by allowing almost all crime to go unpunished during a 12-hour “purge” period.

Part science fiction, part horror film, “The Purge” was dismissed by critics but eagerly awaited by horror fans. Industry experts had forecast it would sell $20 million worth of tickets.

Universal Studios’ president for domestic distribution Nikki Rocco attributed the film’s success to its marketing and social media campaign. Rocco also said that the time was ripe at the box office for a low-budget horror film like “The Purge.” “The timing was perfect,” she said. “In the last month or two there’s been a definable slot for this kind of movie.”–Reuters