Sunday Update: It was an impressive weekend at the box office, as both Fox's Gone Girl and Warner's Annabelle over-performed in what turned out to be a very tight race for first place between the two new releases. Based on studio estimates, Gone Girl is estimated to take first place with $38.0 million, while Annabelle is estimated to place in a close second with $37.2 million. The race is obviously still close enough that positions could change when actuals are released on Monday.

With $38.0 million, Gone Girl exceeded pre-release expectations, which increased as the film's release neared thanks in part to strong reviews and strong pre-sales. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film starring Ben Affleck delivered the tenth largest opening weekend performance of all time for the month of October (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). Gone Girl represented the largest debut ever for Fincher (his previous best being the $30.06 million debut of 2002's Panic Room) and the third largest start ever for Affleck (behind only 2001's Pearl Harbor and 2003's Daredevil). The film opened an impressive 69 percent stronger than the $22.45 million launch of 2010's The Social Network.

Gone Girl opened with $13.2 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.3 million from late night Thursday shows), increased 15 percent on Saturday to gross $15.18 million and is estimated to decline 37 percent on Sunday to gross $9.63 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.88 to 1. Gone Girl received a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, but the film's strong critical reviews strongly suggest that the film will hold up well going forward.

With $37.2 million, Annabelle exceeded expectations in a big way. Given its lesser expectations and significantly lower price tag than Gone Girl, Annabelle had the more impressive start this weekend. However, it is also highly likely that the low-budget spin-off to The Conjuring won't hold up as well as Gone Girl will going forward. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Annabelle registered the eleventh largest opening weekend ever for the month of October. Annabelle clearly benefited in a big way from the audience goodwill generated by The Conjuring. The film opened just below the respective $41.86 million and $40.27 million starts of The Conjuring and Insidious Chapter 2.

Annabelle started out with $15.50 million on Friday (which included an estimated $2.1 million from late night shows on Thursday), decreased a very reasonable 10 percent on Saturday to take in $14.00 million and is estimated to decline 45 percent on Sunday to gross $7.70 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.40 to 1, which is encouraging for a horror film. The film's B rating on CinemaScore is also a solid early sign given the film's genre. Annabelle had clear four-quadrant appeal as the audience breakdown for the film was nearly evenly split between genders (51 percent female, 49 percent male) and skewed towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (54 percent).

On the heels of last weekend's strong start, Sony's The Equalizer was down two spots and 44 percent this weekend to place in third with an estimated $19.0 million. The Denzel Washington led action thriller had a solid second weekend hold, especially when taking into account the strong debuts of Gone Girl and Annabelle. The Equalizer continues to perform towards the higher end of its lofty expectations with a ten-day take of $64.49 million. That places the film 6 percent ahead of the $60.74 million ten-day gross of 2010's The Book of Eli, which fell 52 percent in its second weekend to gross $15.73 million.

The Boxtrolls held up very nicely in its second weekend with an estimated fourth place take of $12.43 million. The latest stop motion animated film from Focus and Laika was down a slim 28 percent from last weekend. 2009's Coraline and 2012's ParaNorman both displayed terrific holding power and The Boxtrolls is now on course to do the same after this weekend's strong hold. The Boxtrolls has grossed a stronger than expected $32.54 million in ten days, which places the film 15 percent ahead of the $28.26 million ten-day take of ParaNorman (which fell 39 percent in its second weekend to gross $8.64 million).

Fox's The Maze Runner also held up nicely this weekend with an estimated fifth place gross of $12.0 million. The successful young adult adaptation was down just 31 percent from last weekend. The Maze Runner continues to display strong holding power for a young adult adaptation and has grossed a stronger than expected $73.92 million through 17 days of release. Both The Maze Runner and The Boxtrolls appear to have received an added boost this weekend from the Yom Kippur holiday.

Freestyle's Left Behind debuted in sixth place with an estimated $6.85 million. The faith based thriller remake starring Nicolas Cage opened towards the lower end of its modest expectations. Left Behind opened 26 percent below the $9.22 million launch of Freestyle's God's Not Dead earlier this year and will be hard pressed to hold up anywhere near as well as God's Not Dead did. Left Behind opened with $2.4 million on Friday, increased a slim 1.5 percent on Saturday to take in $2.44 million and is estimated to decline 17 percent on Sunday to gross $2.02 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.85 to 1. Left Behind received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore.

In limited release, Warner's The Good Lie was off to a slow start this weekend with an estimated $0.935 million from 461 locations. That gave the Reese Witherspoon led drama a soft per-location average of $2,028 for the frame. The Good Lie certainly wasn't helped out by the break-out performances of Gone Girl and Annabelle this weekend.

On the platform front, Paramount's Men, Women & Children was off to an even more lackluster start with an estimated $48,000 from 17 locations. That gave the Jason Reitman directed film featuring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner a per-location average of just $2,824. Men, Women & Children has grossed $61,290 since debuting on Wednesday and after this weekend's disappointing start, will have a tough time going forward as it expands into more locations.

Saturday Update: Warner Bros. reports that Annabelle earned an estimated $15.5 million in first place on Friday, a strong start for the low-budget Conjuring spin-off budgeted around a mere $7 million (excluding marketing). That easily makes it the best opening day of the year for a straight-up horror film and the genre's best opening day since September 2013's Insidious Chapter 2 ($20.2 million). Unfortunately, critics haven't taken to the film (30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) while audiences have given it a 58 percent Flixster score and "B" CinemaScore, suggesting word of mouth will struggle going forward. Still, WB and New Line can be happy with this weekend's financial results. BoxOffice projects a $31 million opening weekend for Annabelle.

Fox's Gone Girl also impressed on opening day with $13.2 million. The David Fincher-directed adaptation of Gillian Flynn's popular novel handily surpassed the first Friday takes of The Social Network ($8.0 million) and Prisoners ($6.97 million). Strong pre-release buzz had surrounded the film thanks to Fincher's involvement and praise around the performances of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Critics have awarded the pic a strong 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, while Flixster audiences also give it their approval with 86 percent. With awards season just around the corner, expect a leggy lifespan for the drama. BoxOffice projects an opening weekend of $36.5 million.

Last week's top film, The Equalizer, slipped 55 percent to $5.6 million yesterday. The Denzel Washington hit has earned $51.1 million in its first 8 days of release, 2 percent ahead of the pace of The Book of Eli. BoxOffice projects a respectable $17.5 million sophomore frame.

The Maze Runner eased 34 percent from last Friday to $3.44 million yesterday. The young adult adaptation has tallied $65.4 million through 15 days of release, 33 percent ahead of the pace of Ender's Game. BoxOffice projects an $11.5 million third weekend.

The Boxtrolls took in an estimated $2.74 million to begin its second frame, down 44 percent from opening day last week. The latest success from Laika Animation has earned $22.85 million in its first 8 days, 4 percent more than ParaNorman through the same point. BoxOffice projects a $10.4 million second weekend.

Freestyle's Left Behind remake, starring Nicolas Cage, brought in $2.36 million in its opening day. While that falls short of other faith-based releases this year like God's Not Dead ($2.8 million), it has already exceeded the entire $2.2 million opening weekend of Kirk Cameron's original Left Behind film adaptation, released in February 2001. BoxOffice projects an opening weekend of around $7 million for the Cage version.

In limited release, Reese Witherspoon-led The Good Lie brought in an estimated $300,000 from 3461 locations yesterday for a $651 per-theater average. BoxOffice projects a weekend close to $900,000. Warner Bros. reports the film received a strong "A+" CinemaScore.

In platform release, Jason Reitman's Men, Women, & Children earned an estimated $13,000 from 17 locations on Friday. The per-theater average was $765. The film has tallied $26,290 since opening Wednesday.

Friday Update: Sources report that Annabelle is trending for an opening day around $14 million, positioning it for an opening weekend between $28-30 million if that pace holds.

Gone Girl is eyeing an opening day around $12 million based on early reports, which should translate to a weekend finish in first place of at least $34 million.

Check back on Saturday morning for official Friday estimates and more concrete weekend projections.

Previously: Warner Bros. reports that Annabelle took in $2.1 million from Thursday evening shows. The Conjuring spin-off is aiming to take advantage of what's been a weak market for horror fans over the past year. By comparison, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones pulled a $1.2 million Thursday night start back in January as part of an $18.3 million opening weekend. Annabelle's debut tops Insidious Chapter 2's $1.5 million Thursday start in September 2013. Ultimately, Annabelle's trajectory will greatly depend on how strong the demand for a new horror pic is among mainstream audiences.

Meanwhile, Gone Girl took in $1.3 million Thursday night, just behind Gravity's $1.4 million start exactly one year ago. Fans of Gillian Flynn's popular novel had been scooping up tickets in advance of release, and when also considering David Fincher's own fan base of cinephiles, it too has a fairly wide weekend trajectory from here that will depend on how well the marketing has sold the pic as a must-see on opening night. Either way, early reviews and reactions suggest the film is going to have a very healthy lifespan.

Check back later for early Friday/weekend projections.

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marcelo_lima.pngby Daniel Loria

Marcelo Lima was born into the exhibition industry in his native Brazil. Now the CEO of Tonks, a company specializing in digital marketing for exhibitors that also publishes Exibidor, a trimester trade magazine for the Brazilian exhibition market, Lima is setting his sights on establishing the next major global convention in his home country. Expocine is scheduled for November 10 and 11 in Sao Paulo, bringing together the major players in Latin American exhibition. BoxOffice caught up with Lima to get an exclusive first look at the event.

Can you tell us about yourself, Exibidor, and Expocine?

I used to work at Centerplex Cinemas, a family company, so I've been working with cinemas since my childhood and have been able to build relationships with exhibitors and distributors alike. I decided to leave Centerplex to begin consulting for exhibitors-developing websites and software for clients. Through that experience I was able to establish good relationships with most of the major studios. Having the connections in place, we decided to launch a simple magazine where we could talk about the exhibition industry in Brazil. The publication took off, and we recognized a great opportunity to turn it into a true trade magazine for our industry. That's when we began branching out to international conventions-CinemaCon, CineEurope, CineAsia-to see how they worked and what we could learn from them. The magazine opened the doors for us to become better acquainted with all the vendors associated with the exhibition business: technology, seating, concessions, and so on. Our suppliers were really the ones who pushed us to set up something bigger and better in Brazil, and that's how the idea for our trade show, Expocine, came about.

Why is it important to host a major tradeshow for Latin America in Latin America?

A number of Latin American exhibitors attend trade shows in the United States. However, we also have a lot of exhibitors that don't have the money to book a ticket to Miami or Las Vegas and stay at a hotel there. Hosting the event in Brazil became an important priority for us for that very reason. There isn't anything like this in South America; while studios have the financial reach to market their films in the region, suppliers lack the same visibility to market their products. Expocine intends to bridge that gap. We want to bring all aspects of exhibition and distribution together under one roof right here in Latin America.

What can we look forward to at Expocine?

Something new for Brazil and Latin America. Exhibitors often only have access to film trailers when they attend one of the smaller conventions here in Latin America. Expocine offers the full package for Latin American exhibitors: panels, screenings, and a trade show.


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By Daniel Garris

Sony's The Equalizer grossed $2.18 million on Thursday to lead the daily box office for a seventh straight day. The action thriller starring Denzel Washington was down a sharp 15 percent from Wednesday, as the late night launches of Warner's Annabelle and Fox's Gone Girl clearly had an effect on The Equalizer and other holdovers aimed at adult moviegoers. The Equalizer was easily the week's top film with a seven-day start of $45.49 million. That was in line with pre-release expectations and was nearly on par with the $45.00 million seven-day take of 2010's The Book of Eli.

The Maze Runner held steady in second with $0.84 million. The young adult adaptation from Fox fell 8 percent from Wednesday and a sharp 58 percent from last Thursday's gross (which was inflated by the Rosh Hashanah holiday). The Maze Runner placed in second for the week with $21.40 million. That was down a solid 47 percent from the film's opening week performance and brings the film's two-week total to a healthy $61.92 million. The Maze Runner has already surpassed the $61.74 million final domestic gross of last year's Ender's Game.

The Boxtrolls took in $0.61 million to remain in third place. The latest 3D stop motion animated film from Focus and Laika was down just 5 percent from Wednesday, as films with family appeal held up better yesterday than films aimed at adults. The Boxtrolls took third place for the week with a seven-day start of $20.11 million. The film outpaced expectations this week and performed 2.5 percent stronger than the $19.62 million seven-day launch of 2012's ParaNorman.

Warner's This Is Where I Leave You claimed fourth with $0.54 million. The comedy starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey was down 15 percent from Wednesday and down 45 percent from last Thursday. This is Where I Leave You took fourth place this week with $9.46 million. That represented a very solid 39 percent decline from the film's opening week performance and brings the film's two-week total to a so-so $25.00 million.

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By Alex Edghill

Friday Morning Update: As expected, this week's hot ticket item Annabelle was planted firmly atop the Tweet total list for the last 7 days (Friday to Thursday). A few other films also stood out though, namely The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 1 which is already averaging 10k+ tweets a day even from this distance out (it doesn't open till November 21st). It is generating more buzz than either of its predecessors in the series so far and it would seem as though the lofty heights of $150 million+ are all but assured yet again.

Nine of the top fifteen films on the week are October openers as you would expect since they will be either ramping up their marketing campaigns or in full swing by now. There were a couple curious absences though: Fury, St. Vincent, Book Of Life come to mind, but their very common names lead to extra measures being taken to assure matches for mentions which always serve as a limiter for total tweets (this is one area where Facebook tracking is superior to Twitter in my mind). 

Interstellar is also picking up pace and is up significantly from where Inception was five weeks before release. Of course Twitter in general has seen a big uptick in movie mentions over the last four years but its still worth mentioning since Inception was one of the most tweeted and most trended movies on Twitter at the time.

Twitter Top 20 Movies for the week of September 26th to October 2nd

Date Movie Tweets Rank Peak Change
10/03/14 Annabelle 285,567 1 (+1) 1 327.27%
11/21/14 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 87,667 2 (-1) 1 24.65%
10/24/14 Ouija 79,148 3 (+2) 3 244.11%
10/03/14 Gone Girl 78,721 4 (-) 4 222.84%
1/09/15 Taken 3 51,714 5 (+18) 5 1157.02%
11/07/14 Interstellar 38,337 6 (+1) 6 121.93%
10/10/14 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day 21,357 7 (+11) 7 298.97%
5/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 20,862 8 (-) 8 30.17%
10/10/14 The Judge 19,962 9 (-3) 6 -10.51%
10/10/14 Dracula Untold 17,021 10 (+21) 10 631.14%
10/31/14 Before I Go To Sleep 14,960 11 (-2) 9 -1.05%
10/17/14 The Best Of Me 14,705 12 (-1) 11 15.73%
10/10/14 Addicted 12,101 13 (-) 13 41.83%
2/06/15 Jupiter Ascending 12,004 14 (+6) 14 165.69%
12/12/14 Exodus: Gods and Kings 10,689 15 (+23) 15 839.28%
11/14/14 Dumb And Dumber To 9,574 16 (+5) 16 117.79%
2/13/15 Kingsman: The Secret Service 7,562 17 (-1) 16 15.24%
12/25/14 Into The Woods 6,114 18 (-6) 12 -44.63%
11/14/14 Beyond The Lights 6,006 19 (-16) 3 -90.14%
11/07/14 Big Hero 6 5,664 20 (-5) 15 -15.18%

Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

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aimc-australianintlmovieconvention.pngThe 69th Australian International Movie Convention (Jupiters Hotel & Casino on Queensland's Gold Coast October 12-16) will showcase a diverse range of films ahead of what industry pundits forecast will be a strong box office year.

The AIMC is hosted annually by NACO (National Association of Cinema Operators-Australasia). NACO Executive Director, Michael Hawkins says the convention, which has become a valuable annual industry event for the Australian, NZ and Pacific region, looks forward to welcoming Australia's major and independent distributors to present their upcoming product slates to the decision makers who program cinemas large and small.

The major Hollywood distribution companies of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Warner Bros. will present previews and footage from films scheduled for release in late 2014 and 2015 release.

"We will be off to a good start as the AIMC Opening Night hosts the Australian Premiere of the Universal-distributed Working Title film ‘The Theory of Everything', says Mr Hawkins.

"Over the four and a half days of the convention, our delegates will get to enjoy a cross-section of what we hope will be a bumper crop of films for the coming year".

Sony Pictures Releasing will screen ‘Fury', starring Brad Pitt as a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy who commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines as the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre in April, 1945. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

John Jarratt will present the first sneak peek of his upcoming film in a presentation titled ‘From Wolf Creek to Stalkher', with the latter billed as an "inappropriately funny, dark, romantic thriller" from OZPIX Entertainment & Backlot Films. John Jarratt will be joined by his ‘Stalkher' co-director and fellow lead actor Kaarin Fairfax and Alan Finney, the Executive Producer, to offer a unique insight into Australia's own ‘Misery meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'

The Australian Independent Distributors Association (AIDA) will have product presentations and movie screenings throughout the four days of the convention, including Dan Gilroy's crime drama, ‘Nightcrawler', about a young man who stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and ‘Love is Strange', a drama starring John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei.

AIDA member companies include Becker Film Group, Curious Film, Entertainment One Films, Icon Film Distributors, Madman Entertainment, Palace Films, Pinnacle Films, Potential Films, Sharmill Films, Studio Canal, Rialto Distribution and Umbrella Films.

Comedy is a box office staple and AIMC delegates will have the opportunity to see ‘Dumb and Dumber To', in which Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their signature roles as Lloyd and Harry in the sequel to the smash hit which "took physical comedy and kicked it in the nuts". The original film's directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, take Lloyd and Harry on a road trip to find a child Harry never knew he had and the responsibility neither should ever, ever be given.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures will screen ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day', which follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life - a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. The film also stars Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell as Alexander's parents.

Paramount Pictures will screen ‘Top Five', written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, which tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career-and the past-that he's left behind. The film stars Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che and Jay Pharoah.

Michael Hawkins says some of the distributors have yet to announce the films they will be screening at this year's AIMC.

"Plenty of scope for some last-minute surprises this year".

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Notes to Editors
‘The Theory of Everything' (the subject of a previous AIMC 2014 media release) is the extraordinary story of one of the world's greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Together they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star as the young lovers in this inspiring film directed by Academy Award® winner James Marsh.

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Registrations for AIMC 2014 are now open - visit http://www.movieconvention.com.au

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About the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC)
Continually attracting record numbers of delegates from Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the US and Europe, the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC) remains the premier event to showcase the Australian film industry and provide opportunities for industry stakeholders to reflect upon and shape the issues that affect the business of motion pictures, and to network with local and international colleagues. The Australian International Movie Convention is held annually on the Gold Coast, Queensland and hosted by NACO, the National Association of Cinema Operators - Australasia.

The Australian International Movie Convention is supported by City of Gold Coast and the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Screen Queensland.

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