Universal’s appropriately timed horror movie “Ouija“ actually benefited from the calendar, grossing $3.5 million. This was good enough for the top spot and a likely better-than-average second week hold for a horror film.
Coming in second for the day was “Nightcrawler” (Open Road) at $3.2 million. As a review-driven, older audience film, it should improve the rest the weekend and end up number one. A possible concern is its not-so-good B- CinemaScore, but as “Gone Girl” has shown (it had only a B), edgy, unconventional yet divisive dramas can overcome it.
All other films fell under $2 million for the day, contributing to a top ten total of $17.6 million, only half of last year (when Friday was post-Halloween). This looks to be the first downward week after a strong uptick in October. But with “Interstellar” and “Big Hero 6” opening next week, and the latest “Hunger Games” two weeks later, November could be a record setter.
All holdovers were hit by bigger-than-normal drops, but several managed to maintain around 50% or better, with expected improvements the rest of the weekend. “Fury” (Sony) managed to hold onto the third position with $1,950,000. “John Wick” (Lionsgate) dropped about two-thirds from its first Friday, earning just over $1.8 million and just beating out “Gone Girl” (20th Century Fox), which continues to be the word-of-mouth success of the Fall. Weinstein’s “St. Vincent” added about 10% more runs (now at 2,552) to keep its drop modest, coming in at $1,680,000 for sixth place.
Two younger audience films (perhaps most affected by other social activities) came in seventh and eighth: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” (Buena Vista) grossed $919,000 and “The Book of Life” (Warner Bros.) grossed $860,000. Rounding out the list are “The Judge” (Buena Vista) with $864,000 and “Dracula Untold” (Universal) with $784,000.
In an unusual turn of events given the low threshold for entry in the top ten, two other films opening in over 2,000 screens failed to make the list. Clarius’ British thriller “Before I Die” with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth could do no better than twelfth with $575,000, and Lionsgate’s social-media promoted tenth anniversary event reissue of “Saw” managed only $320,000 for a pathetic per-screen-average of $155, which is something less than 20 ticket buyers per theater all day long.