Weekend Box Office (October 10 - 12, 2014)
by Sujit Chawla
THIS WEEKEND In another tight race for pole position at the box office, Gone Girl repeated as champ while a bevy of newcomers took over half of the top 10, all with decent to very strong debuts. After a humdrum summer, autumn is bringing new life into the box office as nine films grossed over $6M this weekend.
Holding on to number one for a second straight weekend was Fox's Gone Girl, down a slim 28.6%, for a weekend estimate of $26.8M, bringing its total to $78.3M. The small fall in its second weekend shows that audience word-of-mouth is pretty good and people are interested in this unique, adult story. It is easily on its way to becoming director David Fincher's highest grossing film, which is currently 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which grossed $127.5M and was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winning 3. Gone Girl likely won't follow the same awards path, but will more than make up for it in box office receipts.
The undisputed King of vampires got a reboot this weekend as the origin story Dracula Untold exploded into second place with an estimated $23.5M from 2,885 screens, for a per screen average of $8,131. After watching horror film after horror film flop this year, this is the second straight weekend that one has done extremely well. Perhaps horror fans were waiting for the spooktacular month of October to spend their well earned dollars, and an A- Cinemascore can only help the long term growth of the film. I'm sure Universal is quite happy with this performance and we should be seeing reboots to some of their most famous horror characters like The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man and more coming over the next few years.
Family audiences helped Disney land in third place this weekend with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day which took in an estimated $19.1M from 3,088 theaters for a per screen average of $6,185. Based on the bestselling children's book, the film opened slightly higher than the only other family film currently playing, The Boxtrolls which opened to $17.3M a few weeks ago. With another A- Cinemascore, Alexander will likely have a more profitable run than The Boxtrolls.
Last week's number two, the horror prequel Annabelle, dropped a reasonable 56% from last weekend to an estimated $16.3M, bringing its cume to $62M. It is the highest grossing horror film since last years Insidious Chapter 2 which went on to make $83M. Annabelle had a stronger second weekend hold (Insidious 2 dropped 66%) and is running about 3% ahead at the same point in its box office travels. Annabelle should end its run around $85-90M, which is extraordinary for a horror film.
Robert Downey, Jr. shed his popular flying suit and instead put on a lawyer's suit for The Judge, which also stars Robert Duvall. Opening in 3,003 theaters, the legal drama took in an estimated $13.3M this weekend, for a per screen average of a mild $4,439, lowest of the newcomers this weekend. With Gone Girl and the still potent The Equalizer out there, adult audiences more or less skipped seeing the man of iron outside of what they've come to love him for. Awards season is approaching and if Downey can get on some critics lists, The Judge might have some more money to make, otherwise chalk this one up as so-so for the A-list actor. Speaking of The Equalizer, Denzel Washington's revenge thriller took in an additional $9.7M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its total to just a shade under $80M for Sony.
Normally, the film at number seven would be the surprise of the top 10, but Lionsgate's Addicted will have to take a back seat to a film we'll discuss in a minute. However, the very adult drama based on the bestselling novel by Zane did remarkably well opening to an estimated $7.6M from only 846 theaters, for a per screen average of $8,983, second best in the top 10. Zane is a huge bestselling author of erotic fiction and Lionsgate must be ecstatic at the possibility of bringing more of her books to the big screen if this is the type of reception they're going to get.
A couple of holdovers landed in the next two spots this weekend. The Maze Runner dropped 35% this weekend to an estimated $7.5M, bringing its total to $83.8M with the $100M crown still in reach, and a sequel is already fastracked for next year. The Boxtrolls fell 44% to an estimated $6.6M, bringing its cume to $41M for Universal.
Finally, the last new release in the top 10 was by far the most surprising - Meet the Mormons, a documentary about, well, Mormons. Paid for entirely by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the film took in an estimated $3.5M this weekend from 317 theaters, for a per screen average of $11,041. While reviews have not been kind, the film obviously hit the mark with its target audience. The LDS church has stated that all net proceeds from the film will go to the American Red Cross.
Two award-bait films opened in limited release this weekend to positive numbers. Sony Picture Classic's Whiplash opened in six theaters to an estimated $143K, for a per screen average of $23K, while Bill Murray's latest, St. Vincent was even stronger from its four theaters, grossing an estimated $121K, for a per screen average of $30K.
The top ten films grossed $134M which was up 29.6% from last year when Gravity held on to the number one spot for a second week with $43.2M; and up 14.3% from 2012 when Taken 2 also took the top spot for a second week with $21.8M.
Compared to projections, Dracula Untold powered ahead of Gitesh's $17M prediction, while Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day came in a couple of notches ahead of his $17M projection. The Judge came in just below his $16M estimate, while Addicted came in just about on target with his $7M prediction.
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This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: October 12, 2014 at 3:15PM ET
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