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Weekend Box Office: Gone Girl Staves off Dracula, Alexander for Second Win in a Row

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By Chris Kavan - 10/12/14 at 08:31 PM CT

The fall is turning out to be a windfall for Hollywood, as the lean months have some teeth to them. Much like the beginning of the year, the 2014 is now outpacing 2013 by a healthy margins. The box office took in $150 million for the weekend - up 30% compared to the same weekend last year. It was a great weekend for both new releases and some old friends as both adults and families alike poured into theaters and amassed an impressive tally.


For the second weekend in a row David Fincher's twisted mystery took the top spot. The film dropped a meager 29% - a surprisingly good hold for an R-rated adult drama - and a lot of that can be attributed to the excellent word-of-mouth it has going. I, for one, think it's one of the best movies of the year. The film brought in $26.8 million and boosted it passed its $61 million budget and the $75 million mark for a new total of $78.3 million. The $100 million mark shouldn't be a problem and it's now looking more and more likely to top The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5 million) to become Fincher's highest-grossing movie to date. The dark themes and wicked humor really pay off for audiences - and I have a feeling this one is going to stick around awhile.


Even though I thought this looked like a pretty mediocre October offering, it turns out audiences were in the mood for something suitably grim. Dracula Untold easily topped forecasts (which had it pegged in the $18 million range) and took in $23.45 million on its opening weekend. The audience was older (61% over 25) and even attracted a respectable number of 43% females. It was helped out by IMAX screens, which accounted for about 10% of its grosses. It drew in a nice "A-" Cinemeascore and with Halloween around the corner should be able to top its $70 million budget.


With a whole lot of grimness at the box office, it turns out audiences were also content with some much lighter fare. Alexander drew in a massive family audience (67% of its share) and landed in third with a nice $19.1 million opening. Considering the film has a low budget ($28 million), there is no doubt it will be a profitable one. With the box office being dominated by R-rated crime thrillers and PG-13 horror, Alexander presented the perfect counter-programming for those looking for a lighter alternative. Audiences also awarded this film an "A-" Cinemascore as well, so Alexander should have a nice few weeks ahead of it.


The creepy doll spin-off from The Conjuring also continued to draw in audiences. Annabelle dropped about 56% in its second weekend (about equal to similar horror films) and took in $16.9 million for a new total of $62.1 million. That's nearly ten times its reported $6.5 million budget and represents yet another win for the low-budget horror genre. It is now tracking ahead of Insidious 2 (which had $60.1 million in its second weekend) but it remains to be seen if it can top the $83 million that film brought in last year. One thing is for certain, the marketing has been exceptional and the team should be given a hefty raise for their efforts.


With the adult audiences clearly entranced by Gone Girl, that meant that the dramatic, R-rated film The Judge drew the short straw for the weekend. Despite some impressive star power, The Judge could only bring in $13.3 million - a bit lower than early estimates which had it in the $16-$18 million range. The lure of Gone Girl was likely the biggest factor. Audiences were much older (85% over 25) and slightly more female (55%). Like the other new releases, it also achieved an "A-" Cinemascore, so the audience in supportive, but we'll see if that can translate to solid hold or if The Judge is going to fall quietly out of the picture.

Outside the top five: It was a great opening for the urban targeting film Addicted, opening in just 846 locations, the R-rated thriller (a popular one these days) brought in $7.6 million (7th place) and there's a good chance it could see some expansion given the response.

Both The Maze Runner and The Equalizer crossed the $75 million mark, and both films look to be well on the way of joining the $100 million club before they leave theaters. Equalizer took in $9.72 million (6th place) giving it a new total of $79.9 million while The Maze Runner added $7.5 million (8th place) for a new total of $83.8 million.

In limited release, Bill Murray's new comedy, St. Vincent opened in four theaters and took in a healthy $121,000 for a weekend-best per-theater average of $30,250. That film will continue to expand and will see a nationwide release on the 24th of this month. The acclaimed drama Whiplash (which has been getting a lot of buzz) starring Miles Teller as a jazz drummer and J.K. Simmons as his harsh teacher brought in $144,000 from six theaters for a likewise impressive $24,000-per-theater average.

Next week the big draw looks to be the ensemble war drama Fury (with Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf amongst others). There is also the mighty colorful animated film Book of Life as well as yet another Nicholas Sparks adaptation in The Best of Me. We'll see how Gone Girl fares against a tank crew.


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