Sunday, October 5, 2014

'Gone Girl' narrowly beats 'Annabelle' in close race at weekend box office

Although the September box office was extremely low overall, I noticed an upswing over the last few weeks with The Maze Runner and The Equalizer and all of that culminated this weekend with the release of Annabelle and Gone Girl. The two R-rated thrillers were always going to be close this weekend, but this ended up being a true race to the finish. Fox's Gone Girl, based off the novel by Gillian Flynn, barely snagged first place with $38 million. The dramatic thriller with a significant amount of Oscar buzz opened well above expectations. It was the highest opening of director David Fincher's career and one of the best openings in Ben Affleck's career as well. The film did receive a "B" Cinemascore, but this is a very topical film and one that we'll be hearing about for a while. I expect a finish around $160 million.

Warner Bros./New Line's Annabelle finished in second place with $37.2 million, only $800,000 behind Gone Girl. The spin-off of The Conjuring certainly had an impressive debut, which built off of goodwill for the first film and a lack of strong horror films in the marketplace. The film did receive a "B" Cinemascore as well, but with poor reviews, I doubt that this one will be able to do as strongly as The Conjuring did. A finish over $100 million is entirely possible, yet I don't see it being likely.

Denzel Washington's latest vehicle The Equalizer had a very strong hold this weekend, finishing in third place with $19 million. That's a very light 44.3% drop and the film must be playing very well. The brutal action pic has rounded up $64.5 million so far and will likely cross $100 million by the end of its run. Very good for the modestly budgeted film ($61 million).

Laika's The Boxtrolls also had a solid hold, dropping only 28% to fourth place, while pulling in $12.4 million. The well-made and likable animated film has now grossed $32.5 million and will continue to hold strong. It's first direct competition comes this week in the form of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and then The Book of Life will hit theaters on October 17. So I'm not honestly sure how much The Boxtrolls has left in the tank. A finish around $60 million is to be expected with all of the other children's films headed into the marketplace.

Fox's The Maze Runner took fifth place and made a solid $12 million this weekend. The film has continued to hold strong over the past few weeks and has now grossed $73.9 million. While a finish around $90 million is a sure thing, $100 million is not out of the question. All in all, a solid hit for Fox. In sixth place, Freestyle's Left Behind disappointed with only $6.8 million. The Christian disaster film was lambasted by critics (2% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences weren't much kinder- the "B-" Cinemascore is pretty disappointing. Religious films are typically driven by word of mouth and it doesn't look like Left Behind will have that luxury. A finish around $15 million seems probable.

This is Where I Leave You dropped to seventh place and snagged $4 million. The family drama has now taken in $29 million and will likely close out its run soon. Dolphin Tale 2 was close behind in eighth place with $3.5 million. The family drama has now grossed $37.9 million and will struggle to turn a profit. The film cost $36 million and it hasn't even made a dent internationally.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy finished in ninth place and made another $3 million. The blockbuster has now made $323.6 million. Very impressive. And finally, No Good Deed rounded out the top ten with $2.5 million. The thriller has now grossed $50.1 million.

In the limited release world, the Bollywood release Bang Bang had a pretty strong showing this weekend with $1.2 million, which was good enough for a twelfth place finish. Warner Bros.' The Good Lie received an "A+" Cinemascore, but only managed to pull in $935,000. And Jason Reitman's Men, Women and Children grossed a paltry $48,000 in seventeen theaters. I'll be seeing Reitman's film on October 15 and my anticipation is slowly dwindling.

Next weekend sees the release of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Dracula Untold, The Judge, Kill the Messenger, Addicted and the limited release of Whiplash and St. Vincent. Here are my predictions:

1. Gone Girl- $23.5 million
2. The Judge- $18.4 million
3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day- $17.7 million
4. Dracula Untold- $16 million
5. Annabelle- $15.9 million
6. The Equalizer- $12.5 million
7. The Boxtrolls- $8.3 million
8. The Maze Runner- $7 million
9. Addicted- $2.7 million
10. This is Where I Leave You- $2 million

Image Credits: Screen Rant, Shot on 35

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