Both horror spinoff “Annabelle” (Warner Bros.) and David Fincher’s much-anticipated “Gone Girl” (20th Century Fox) had strong first day grosses, nabbing $15.5 million and $13.2 million respectively. This unusual early fall weekend tandem of two stronger openers led to a Top Ten tally of $46.3 million, a record (unadjusted) for an October Friday.
After several mediocre weeks, this rebound is even more encouraging because it shows strength in horror films after a long drought — and because “Gone Girl” is the first of many significant, older audience films that will need to score if the rest of year is going to recover from the summer slump. As young-oriented genre films tend to peak on Fridays, with older crowds more likely to come later in the weekend, “Gone Girl” looks to be headed for the top weekend spot, likely by a healthy margin.
Though neither film grossed as much as “Gravity” a year ago (a 3D/IMAX-enhanced $17.5 million), the result showed a welcome return to form in a week when the industry was rocked by the news of Netflix aggressively entering the first-run movie area with its deals with Weinstein and Adam Sandler. Both “Gone Girl” and “Annabelle” initially showed the kind of mass audience excitement that contemporary movie theater-oriented marketing, including significant social media, can still generate.
Two other new films opened nationwide, with the faith-based “Left Behind” (Free Style) placing sixth for the day with $2,360,000 in fairly wide release, while “The Good Lie” (Warner Bros.), the TIFF African refugee drama with Reese Witherspoon struggled, with $300,000 in 461 theaters.
Last week’s top film “The Equalizer” (Sony) came in third with $5.6 million and looks to fall about 50-percent from its strong opening for the whole weekend. “The Maze Runner” (20th Century Fox) is holding well in fourth with $3.4 million. Focus and Laika’s animated “The Box Trolls” (Focus) landed fifth at $2.7 million.
The rest of the list lags far behind. In seventh is “This Is Where I Leave You” (Warner Bros.) with $1.2 million. “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Buena Vista) and “Dolphin Tale 2” (Warner Bros.) at $800,000 and “No Good Deed” (Sony) with $740,000 round out the Top Ten.