By Daniel Garris
It turned out to be an extremely close race for first place this weekend between Universal's Ouija and Open Road's Nightcrawler. Ouija ultimately led the way with $10.74 million, while Nightcrawler followed in second with $10.44 million.
With the aid of Halloween, Universal's Ouija remained in first place this weekend and was down just 46 percent from last weekend. The low-budget PG-13 horror film from Platinum Dunes didn't hold up all that well during the midweek, but rebounded quite nicely on Halloween and maintained momentum throughout the rest of the weekend. Ouija has grossed a very solid $34.80 million through ten days of release. That is in line with expectations and places the film 33 percent ahead of the $26.11 million ten-day take of last year's Carrie.
Open Road's Nightcrawler trailed Ouija by just $299,380 for the frame. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal appeared set to lead the weekend after a close second place finish on Friday, but Friday's $3.2 million performance ultimately wasn't affected by Halloween as much as anticipated. Nightcrawler was able to open in line with pre-release expectations, which were boosted a bit by the film's strong reviews and relatively strong online activity over the past few weeks. The film opened 21 percent below the $13.15 million start of Open Road's End of Watch back in September of 2012. Nightcrawler received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film isn't going over as well with audiences as it has with critics.
It was a tight race for places three through seven this weekend, as third place and seventh place were separated by just $1.59 million. Holdovers in general held up well this weekend, thanks in part to the limited amount of new competition in the marketplace.
Sony's Fury claimed third place with $8.82 million. The David Ayer directed World War II film starring Brad Pitt held up nicely this weekend, as it was down 34 percent from last weekend. Fury surpassed the $60 million mark this weekend and has grossed $60.16 million in 17 days. The film continues to perform in line with the lower end of expectations and is currently running 4 percent ahead of the $57.86 million 17-day take of Sony's The Monuments Men earlier this year.
Fox's Gone Girl placed in fourth with $8.48 million. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film starring Ben Affleck held up very well, as it was down just 23 percent from last weekend. This weekend's hold was especially impressive given the added competition the film faced from Nightcrawler. Gone Girl has grossed a very impressive $136.28 million in 31 days. The film is already the highest grossing film of Fincher's career and is now just $13.72 million away from reaching the $150 million mark.
The Book of Life rounded out the weekend's top five with $8.21 million. Fox's modestly budgeted computer animated film was down a slim 18 percent from last weekend. Like Ouija, The Book of Life received a boost from the holiday weekend (though its boost was on Saturday). The film also likely received an added boost from moviegoers who wanted to catch it before Disney's Big Hero 6 arrives in the marketplace next weekend. The Book of Life surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a solid $40.43 million in 17 days.
John Wick took sixth place with $7.99 million. The Keanu Reeves led action thriller from Lionsgate did lose a bit of momentum over the weekend, as it was down 45 percent from last weekend. With that said, John Wick is still performing on the high end of expectations with $27.53 million in ten days. John Wick has already out-grossed the $26.42 million final gross of 2008's Street Kings and is in good shape to surpass the $38.36 million final take of last year's 47 Ronin before the end of its run.
The Weinstein Company's St. Vincent placed in seventh with $7.23 million. The low-budget comedy starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy held up especially well this weekend, as it was down just 7 percent from last weekend. St. Vincent was helped out this weekend by strong word of mouth and from expanding into an additional 270 locations. The film has grossed $19.00 million to date and will hope to continue to hold up well going forward.
The weekend's other two new wide releases were both dead on arrival. Clarius' Before I Go to Sleep debuted on the very low end of its already low expectations with $1.84 million, while Lionsgate's Saw 10th Anniversary opened with a very disappointing $650,051. That gave Before I Go to Sleep and Saw 10th Anniversary respective per-location averages of just $953 and $315 for the frame.
On the limited front, Fox Searchlight's Birdman took in $2.39 million from 231 locations. That gave the critically acclaimed Alejandro G. Iñárritu directed film starring Michael Keaton a healthy, but not exceptional, per-location average of $10,348 for the frame. Birdman has grossed $4.88 million through 17 days of platform release.