By Daniel Garris
Universal's Ouija led the way this weekend with a first place debut of $19.88 million. The low-budget PG-13 horror film debuted on the low end of pre-release expectations. While it didn't reach the opening weekend heights of other Platinum Dunes horror films, Ouija still marks another solid performer for the production company. Ouija was no doubt helped out a bit by opening in close proximity to Halloween, but was also likely hurt a bit by arriving so soon in the marketplace after the breakout success of Warner's Annabelle. The film opened 23.5 percent ahead of the $16.10 million start of last year's Carrie and 33 percent below the $29.82 million debut of The Purge: Anarchy earlier this year.
Ouija debuted with $8.30 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.91 million from late night Thursday shows), fell a respectable 8 percent on Saturday to take in $7.64 million and declined 49 percent on Sunday to gross $3.93 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.39 to 1, which is respectable for a horror film and was likely boosted a bit by the film's appeal with younger moviegoers. The audience breakdown for the film skewed heavily towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (75 percent) and towards female moviegoers (61 percent). Ouija received a C rating on CinemaScore, which while lackluster, isn't necessarily a troubling score for a horror film.
John Wick debuted in second place with $14.42 million. The Keanu Reeves led action thriller from Lionsgate opened towards the higher end of expectations, which had risen in recent weeks due in part to surging online activity for the film. John Wick represented just the second wide release for Reeves since 2008's The Day the Earth Stood Still (the other being last year's 47 Ronin) and showcases that Reeves still has some drawing power after being out of the spotlight in recent years. The film debuted 16 percent ahead of the $12.47 million start of 2008's Street Kings and will hope to hold up better than that film did, thanks in part to strong critical reviews.
John Wick opened with $5.45 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.87 million from late night Thursday shows), fell a slim 1 percent on Saturday to gross $5.38 million and fell 33 percent on Sunday to take in $3.59 million. That places the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.65 to 1. The audience breakdown for John Wick skewed towards male moviegoers (60 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (77 percent). The film received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore.
Sony's Fury was down two spots and a sizable 44 percent from last weekend's first place debut to claim third with $13.36 million. The David Ayer directed World War II film starring Brad Pitt had held up nicely during the midweek, but likely took a bit of a hit over the weekend from the added presence of John Wick in the marketplace. Fury may also be relatively weekday heavy in general based on its performance thus far. The film has grossed a solid $46.41 million in ten days. That is on the lower end of expectations and is 5 percent ahead of the $44.14 million ten-day start of Sony's The Monuments Men earlier this year (which fell 30 percent in its second weekend to gross $15.48 million).
Fox's Gone Girl continued its impressive run with a fourth place take of $11.04 million. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film starring Ben Affleck was down a solid 37 percent from last weekend. Gone Girl continues to distance itself from pre-release expectations with a 24-day take of $124.04 million. The film is now on the verge of surpassing the $127.51 million final domestic gross of 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to become the highest grossing film of Fincher's career (without adjusting for ticket price inflation).
Fellow Fox release The Book of Life rounded out the weekend's top five with $10.05 million. The modestly budgeted 3D computer animated film was down a noteworthy 41 percent from last weekend's debut. The Book of Life may have taken a bit of a hit from the PG-13 rated Ouija this weekend and producer Guillermo del Toro's involvement may have also led to some additional front-loading. The Book of Life has grossed a solid $30.16 million in ten days. That is towards the lower end of expectations and is 6 percent below the recent $32.09 million ten-day take of The Boxtrolls.
In its first weekend of wide release, The Weinstein Company's St. Vincent was off to a promising sixth place performance with $7.75 million. The low-budget comedy starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy received a larger expansion this weekend than was initially expected. The move paid off, as St. Vincent opened towards the higher end of expectations and took in a respectable per-location average of $3,395 for the frame. St. Vincent grossed $2.55 million on Friday, increased a healthy 31 percent on Saturday to take in $3.34 million and declined 44 percent on Sunday to gross $1.86 million. That placed the film's weekend to Friday ratio at an encouraging 3.04 to 1. The film's A- rating on CinemaScore is also a promising early sign going forward.