Box Office Results: David Fincher’s Gone Girl Gets the Edge on Horror Prequel Annabelle

ON

The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

For the first time in recent memory we had a bonafide photo finish for the top spot at the box office as two R-rated thrillers went neck and neck all through the weekend, ending up less than a million apart. Both of those movies did big business, well above tracking, and are likely to be among the Top 12 openers for the month of October.

According to estimates, Gone Girl, the David Fincher-directed adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel, starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris, will win the weekend with $38 million despite trailing its main competition on Thursday night and Friday. It averaged $12.6 thousand in 3,014 theaters and with strong word-of-mouth, it shouldn’t have a problem making back its $61 million production budget. It marks the largest opening for David Fincher, whose 2002 thriller Panic Room opened with $30 million on its way to $96.4 million, and Gone Girl should be good for another $100 million movie under the director’s belt. It’s also Ben Affleck’s biggest opening since 2003’s Daredevil opened with $40 million.

Gone Girl also opened internationally with $24.6 million on 5,270 screens in 39 markets including the UK, where it earned $6.9 million and was #1 there. Australia took in $4.6 million, which like in the UK, was Fincher’s best opening on the continent. It also opened in Russia, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Hong Kong and other territories with more opening next week.

The spin-off horror prequel Annabelle, featuring the doll from last year’s breakout hit The Conjuring, won Friday with $15.5 million, but it had a small drop-off on Friday and ended the weekend with an estimated $37.2 million for second place. Averaging $11.7 thousand, that’s slightly less than the $41.9 million opening for The Conjuring last July and there are still plans to make a direct sequel to that film, presumably based on one of the other cases of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

This made it the third weekend in a row with a movie opening over $30 million, in this case two movies in the same weekend, which shows a strong moviegoing surge during the normally slower months of September and October.

Despite the new competition, Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer (Sony) held up surprisingly well in it second weekend, grossing an estimated $19 million (down 44% from its opening week) to bring its domestic total to $64.5 million. It added another $13 million overseas in 70 territories bringing its international total to $39.6 million.

LAIKA Studio’s stop-motion animated The Boxtrolls (Focus Features) took third place, down 28% from its opening weekend with $12.4 million and $32.5 million total. It grossed another $6 million overseas where it’s handled by Universal Pictures International for a non-domestic total of $26 million with the UK accounting for nearly $10 million in a month.

Universal’s Dracula Untold starring Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Charles Dance and Dominic Cooper also got a headstart on its North American release with a release in 25 markets where it scored $21 million. It was the #1 movie in Mexico, Hong Kong, Portugal and (where else?) Romania. It opened at #2 (to Gone Girl) with $2.7 million in the UK, and it also opened in Germany, France, Australia and Malaysia. It will open in North America on Thursday night, October 9, as well as open in Russia and Korea.

It pulled just ahead of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner (20th Century Fox), starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Will Poulter, which took fifth place with $12 million. It has grossed $73.9 million domestically, paving the way for a sequel to be released in the fall of 2015. It added another $16.5 million internationally in 62 markets bringing its overseas total to $119 million.

Nicolas Cage starred in the remake of the spiritual epic Left Behind, based on the bestsellers by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, which took in $6.9 million in 1,820 theaters for an average of $3,764 per location and sixth place.

That was followed by Shawn Levy’s ensemble dramedy This is Where I Leave You (Warner Bros.), starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, which took seventh place with $4 million and a three-week domestic total of $29 million.

Dolphin Tale 2 (Warner Bros.) took eighth place with $3.5 million, bringing its total to just under $38 million.

Marvel and Walt Disney Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy added another $3 million over the weekend to bring its year-best domestic gross to $323.4 million. It has grossed another $330 million internationally to bring its global total to $653 million.

The thriller No Good Deed (Sony/Screen Gems), starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, wrapped up the Top 10 with $2.5 million and $50.2 million after a month in theaters. Produced for $13 million, it’s already another hit for Screen Gems and producer Will Packer.

The Top 10 ended up with about $138.5 million this weekend, up over 20% from the October-opening weekend last year when Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-winning Gravity opened with $56 million, over $15 thousand per theater, and Ben Affleck’s previous movie Runner Runner, bombed with just $7.7 million in 3,024 theaters.

Bang Bang, a Bollywood remake of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz action comedy Knight and Day in Hindi, opened in 271 theaters on Thursday, bringing in $1.4 million, the largest opening weekend for a Bollywood film in North America for 2014 and enough to crack the Top 12. It had a much more impressive opening in India itself where it took in $19.3 million on 4,200 screens, the 3rd highest opening for a non-franchise film.

Reese Witherspoon and Corey Stoll played supporting roles in the true-life drama The Good Lie (Warner Bros.), which opened in 461 theaters on Friday where it grossed $930 thousand. Despite the weak opening, the film which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month received a rare “A+” CinemaScore.

Jason Reitman’s new ensemble film Men, Women & Children (Paramount), starring Adam Sandler, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer, Ansel Elgort and more, opened in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday and expanded to 17 theaters Friday where it grossed $48 thousand over the weekend or $2,800 per location, which does not bode well for the film’s wide expansion on October 17.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.