Box Office: NIGHTCRAWLER and OUIJA in Dead Heat on Tame Halloween Weekend

     November 2, 2014

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With Halloween behind it, the weekend box office got back to the business of being… boring.  Or maybe it’s just saving it’s strength for next week – when Interstellar and Big Hero 6 kick off the year’s final quarter?  Open Road’s Nightcrawler managed to take first place – but only by the slimmest of margins.  After coming in second behind horror holdover Ouija on Halloween, it looked like the Nightcrawler would take first place with $13 million this weekend: a win for a low-budget movie that had been tracking in the $11 million range.  In the end, the original projections were correct and the box office wound up with two underwhelming estimates in a near-tie at the top.  Nightcrawler and Ouija are so close, in fact, that that the horror pic could easily come out on top after actual box office totals are released on Monday.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Nightcrawler $10,909,000 $10.9
2.  Ouija $10,900,000 $34.9
3.  Fury $9,100,000 $60.4
4.  Gone Girl $8,800,000 $136.6
5.  The Book of Life $8,300,000 $40.5
6.  John Wick $8,050,000 $27.5
7.  St. Vincent $7,752,000 $19.5
8.  Alexander and… $6,485,000 $53.6
9.  The Judge $3,400,000 $39.5
10.  Dracula Untold $2,946,000 $52.8

 

Full story after the jump.

ouija-posterNightcrawler took in an estimated $10.9 million from 2,766 locations this weekend.  The R-rated drama received critical raves (currently 94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and was expected to take in at least $13 million this weekend.  Unfortunately, audiences haven’t taken to the film the same way critics have.  Nightcrawler got a ‘B-’ CinemaScore.  That’s not disastrous, but it certainly explains why Saturday’s earnings declined and suggests a big drop for next weekend – when more mainstream fare returns to theatres.

Much was made about Ouija’s CinemaScore last weekend, however, and look how that turned out.  Despite receiving a ‘C’ from audiences and a giant eye-roll from critics, the adaptation of the Hasbro ‘game’ held remarkably well in its sophomore frame.  So well, in fact, that it came close to claiming a second week in first place.  And who saw that coming?  The PG-13 title was down just 45 percent: a great hold for any genre but a crazy-good hold for a low-budget horror film.  I guess being the only scary movie playing over Halloween weekend has its advantages?  That didn’t prove true for last year’s Carrie remake, but it was clearly a factor in this weekend’s near-win for Ouija.

Halloween showed no love for a former favorite – Saw.  The tenth anniversary re-release of 2004’s original film earned just $650,000 from 2,063 locations and missed the top ten altogether.  That’s shockingly bad by any measure.  The 30th anniversary re-release of Ghostbusters also missed the top ten back in August, but it brought in $1.7 million on its first three days in just 784 locations.  Lionsgate can stick a rusty pickaxe in this series and flip it over, cause Saw is finally done.

Saw-10th-Anniversary-Poster-Jim-EvansAnother wide release that missed the top ten was Before I Go to Sleep.  The R-rated drama starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth earned an estimated $2.02 million from 1,935 locations, or less than $1,000 per location.  That’s three times higher than the per-screen average of the Saw re-issue but less than half what And So It Goes (also distributed by newbie Clarius Entertainment) earned on its first weekend back in July.

Back in the top ten, holdovers made the most of the limited competition this weekend.  St. Vincent had the best hold: up 1% on its second week in wide release after adding 270 locations.  John Wick followed its second-place debut last weekend with strong weekday numbers, taking first place Monday – Wednesday.  The R-rated pic also had a solid weekend hold (-44%) despite the direct competition from Nightcrawler.

Fury continues to play well in its third frame.  The World War II drama returned to first place on Thursday and will end the weekend with over $60 million in domestic earnings.  But among holdovers, Gone Girl has the most to celebrate.  With another excellent hold (-20%) and an estimated $136.6 million domestic total, the drama is now the highest-grossing domestic release of David Fincher’s career – not adjusted for inflation and not including worldwide figures.  The director’s former high was $127.5 million for 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

As expected, the weekend looked like a disaster compared to 2013’s numbers.  Overall earnings barely topped $70 million.  That’s down 40% from the same time last year, when Ender’s Game led with $27 million.  Next weekend should compensate for today’s total and might even match the same frame last year – when Thor: The Dark World debuted with $85.7 million.  Interstellar is clearly the one to watch next week.  We’ll have a better sense of how big the movie will be after its opens in IMAX opening on Wednesday, but at this point it looks like the Christopher Nolan pic will top $75 million.  Disney’s Big Hero 6 should also put up big numbers in its debut.  The animated film could reach $55 million: higher than Wreck-It Ralph, which opened on the same weekend back in 2012.

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