The looming Halloween weekend makes a twofold impact this week: the third new horror film of the month, the Jason Blum-produced “Ouija” (Universal), took the top spot for the day, as the holiday’s anticipated influence next weekend (as well as the likely competition from “Interstellar” right after) kept most distributors from releasing top product this week. This weekend, however, looks like it could be the first without a $20 million grosser after six straight weeks with one or more at that level.
“Ouija” took in $8.3 million for its opening—including just under a million for late Thursday shows—contributing to a $32.5 million Top Ten (up a tick from the same day last year, when “Bad Grandpa” grossed over $12 million). A horrible C Cinemascore could indicate it’s all downhill from here, though leading the weekend is a certainty. Keanu Reeves’ well-reviewed “John Wick” (Lionsgate) managed just under $5.5 million (a mixed B CInemascore will only be of marginal help ahead). Neither film looks to repeat several earlier releases that have held on well and helped buttress a strong October.
The third new wide release, Weinstein’s “St. Vincent” with Bill Murray, had an unusually rapid expansion for a previous limited-play film. Its third Friday grossed $2,550,000 in 2,282 theaters for fifth place for now. By comparison, last year TWC’s “August: Osage County” grossed $2.2 million for the day when it expanded to 905 theaters its third week. Word of mouth will determine whether this becomes a crossover success.
In between two holdovers placed third and fourth. “Fury” (Sony) with $4.1 million (down from $8.8) looks like it is getting a mixed reaction at best. “Gone Girl” (20th Century Fox) continues to show strength, down less than 40% again with $3.5 million for the day.
“The Book of Life” (Warner Bros.), which should be boosted by matinees the rest of the weekend, came in sixth with $2.4 million. Another younger-oriented film, Buena Vista’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” placed seventh with $2.0 million. “The Best of Me” (Relativity) with $1.6 million, “The Judge” (Buena Vista) with just over $1.3 million and “Dracula Untold” (Universal) also $1.3 million rounded out the Top Ten.
This time of year means significant new specialized openings and expansions. “Birdman” (Fox Searchlight) continued its strong showing in expanding to 50 theaters its second week, with $429,000, a level similar to “Blue Jasmine” last year in the same number of theaters. Two openers, the acclaimed Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” (Radius) and Lynn Shelton’s “Laggies” (A24) both look headed to decent weekend per screen averages somewhere around $20,000 in their initial openings.