Box Office: Gone Girl Narrowly Edges Out Annabelle With $38 Million

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Leave it to the weekend to be a battle between adults and teenagers. With the openings of Gone Girl and Annabelle you had two movies that were looking to specific audiences in mind. For Gone Girl, based on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling suspense novel, the demo was clearly with adults as the subject centered on a not-so-happily married couple celebrating its fifth anniversary. With the combined talents of filmmaker David Fincher (The Social Network, Seven) and actors Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, the latter of which delivers one of the best performances of the year, Gone Girl hauled in $38 million. That opening figure is a career high for Fincher since 2002’s Panic Room. Behind 20th Century Fox’s marketing campaign, which was full throttle for weeks leading up to its release, it has to be disappointing for the studio that it had to narrowly fend off the low budget horror spinoff Annabelle for the top spot.

What gets me about Annabelle is that reviews were pretty savage, compared to its predecessor The Conjuring which received some of the best critical reviews for a horror release this decade. The marketing made no clear indication of any recognizable actors, despite Alfre Woodard being among the cast (and there was even an actress named Annabelle, too!). And its not like they could market the film’s director, John R. Leonetti, whose previous cinematic efforts behind the camera included The Butterfly Effect 2 and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. But the spinoff apparently worked because its $37.2 million opening is $4.6 million less than what The Conjuring made its opening weekend (July 19th through 21st of 2013). For studio Warner Bros. the success of Annabelle means all is well until The Conjuring 2 arrives next July. But just take a look at that opening for a second. It used to be that $20 million was the standard line for a horror movie when it opens. But now we are looking in some instances for horror movies to open north of $30 million. As I’ve stated previously, if you are a studio looking to bankroll, invest in cheap horror and family entertainment.

Last weekend top money earner, The Equalizer, managed a strong hold to take bronze adding another $19 million to the bank to bring its two week domestic total to $64.5 million.

The not to be confused with The Hunger Games YA adaptation of The Maze Runner keeps chugging along as it makes another $12 million. Slowly but surely $100 million is within reach for this Fox release.

For those who happened to catch the Nicolas Cage-starring Left Behind I understand that you saw one of the year’s best unintentional comedies. Looks like not even the combined powers of Cage and Kirk Cameron could not propel this Christian drama to a double-digit opening.

In limited release, the big story was the success of Bang Bang!, a Hindi action romantic musical film produced by Fox Star Studios. The film is a remake of Knight and Day (also a Fox release), which starred Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Its 5100 screens worldwide opening was the biggest release for an Indian film. The United States accounted for 271 of those screens and finished the weekend with $1.2 million. Its $4,483 per-screen average was better than Reese Witherspoon’s The Good Lie ($2,028 avg. on 461 screens) and Jason Reitman’s Men, Women and Children ($2,824 avg. on 17 screens).

For the weekend ahead, Gone Girl will look to outlast newcomers Addicted, Dracula Untold, The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr. and the movie with perhaps the worst title of the year, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Hopefully, Alexander won’t come back to haunt Steve Carell’s Foxcatcher Oscar chances, unlike Eddie Murphy with Dreamgirls and Norbit.

01. Gone Girl – $38,000,000
02. Annabelle – $37,200,000
03. The Equalizer – $19,000,000 ($64,500,000)
04. The Boxtrolls – $12,425,000 ($32,539,000)
05. The Maze Runner – $12,000,000 ($73,921,000)
06. Left Behind – $6,850,000
07. This Is Where I Leave You – $4,000,000 ($29,003,000)
08. Dolphin Tale – $3,530,000 ($37,974,000)
09. Guardians Of The Galaxy – $3,034,000 ($323,360,000)
10. No Good Deed – $2,500,000 ($50,157,000)

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