Universal pulled off a bit of an upset on Friday, as Dracula Untold topped Gone Girl for box office bragging rights. The PG-13 horror-fantasy took in an estimated $8.9 million from 2,887 locations on its first day in theatres, topping the entire first weekend of January’s I, Frankenstein. Dracula Untold was expected to earn between $15 and $17 million on its debut weekend, but with Friday’s win the projection is closer to $25 million. That’s good news for Universal, though it’s unlikely to be enough to knock Gone Girl out of first place. Last weekend’s top film earned an estimated $8.15 million from 3,014 locations on Friday, and should take in another $27 million this weekend, which would make it one of the few R-rated dramas to spend two consecutive weeks on top of the domestic box office.
Full story and Friday’s top five after the jump.
I’ll admit I did not see Friday’s Dracula Untold win coming. Even after Gone Girl opened in second place behind Annabelle last Friday, I thought Fox’s hit drama would have no trouble maintaining its first place spot. For its part, Annabelle was down 66% yesterday from its victory on opening day. That’s not a bad hold for a horror movie, especially considering the direct competition that The Conjuring prequel faced in the form of Dracula Untold yesterday. In fact, Annabelle remained strong enough to top both of this weekend’s other new releases: Alexander and the Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day and The Judge.
With mixed reviews and a target demographic shared with Gone Girl, the fate of The Judge is not surprising. The drama starring Robert Downey Jr. took in an estimated $4.4 million from 3,003 locations and should end its debut weekend with about $13 million – right in line with its modest pre-release expectations.
The movie I thought would show more muscle this weekend was Disney’s Alexander. Based on a popular children’s book and starring Steve Carell, the family comedy seemed like the newbie with the best shot at topping $20 million. Instead, Alexander will probably earn no more than $18 million through Sunday, based on its Friday estimate of $5.2 million from 3,088 locations. That’s not bad, exactly – but considering the film has a higher theatre count than Dracula Untold and a target demographic that has been largely overlooked since summer (or so we keep telling you), an opening closer to $22 million shouldn’t have been such a stretch. We’ll have full details and the weekend top ten tomorrow.