Friday Box Office: ANNABELLE Scares Up the Win on Opening Day but GONE GIRL Will Snatch the Weekend

     October 4, 2014

annabelle-box-office

With this year’s sleepy September now behind it, the box office seems poised for an impressive October.  Two new wide releases came out stronger than projected, though it was the R-rated horror pic Annabelle that had the edge on Friday.  A prequel to 2013’s monster horror hit The Conjuring, Annabelle scored an estimated $15.5 million from 3,185 locations yesterday, including $2.1 million from late night previews.  That was good enough for first place on opening day, though it won’t secure Annabelle the win on October’s first weekend.  That honor will go to Gone Girl, the highly-anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling 2012 novel.  The R-rated drama earned an estimated $13.2 million from 3,014 locations yesterday and could climb as high as $38 million this weekend.

Details and Friday’s top five after the jump.

gone-girl-movie-posterFor horror films, Friday is the weekend’s biggest day.  That’s why Annabelle, despite coming out on top yesterday, is expected to fall to second place on the three-day chart.  But just to be clear: playing runner-up to Gone Girl will not be a disappointment for the Warner/New Line release.  Annabelle was expected to open in the $25 million range – making it by far the highest horror debut of 2014.  But with Friday’s estimate, the film is now expected to earn closer to $30 million: quite an achievement for a film budgeted below $10 million.  By comparison, The Conjuring took in $16.9 million on its first day last July and ended its first weekend with $41.9 million – a record for an original R-rated horror movie.

But the biggest headlines of the weekend will belong to Gone Girl.  Flynn’s novel has sold $8 million copies in the past two years,  giving the Fox film a ready-made and enthusiastic audience even before adding fans of director David Fincher into the equation.  Even so, Fox played it safe with its pre-release projection – announcing a high-end opening of just $24 million.  That figure was likely based on past R-rated fall openings like Argo ($19.4 million) and The Town ($23.8 million), but seemed suspiciously-cautious in the case of Gone Girl.  Other projections put the film over $40 million through Sunday, though that is probably correcting too far in the other direction.  With great reviews and even better buzz, there is no doubt that Gone Girl will be the first big box office hit of fall.  The only question is, how high will it go?

We’ll have complete box office coverage tomorrow, including details on the remake of the rapture-themed Left Behind, starring Nicolas Cage.  Spoiler alert: on its first day in theatres, it’s not exactly looking like the next Heaven is for Real.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Annabelle $15,500,000 $15.5
2.  Gone Girl $13,200,000 $13.2
3.  The Equalizer $5,600,000 $51.1
4.  The Maze Runner $3,435,000 $65.3
5.  The Boxtrolls $2,741,000 $22.8
6.  Left Behind $2,360,000 $2.3

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