NORTH AMERICA: Monday Update: ‘Ouija’ Holds onto First Place over Halloween Weekend with $10.7M; ‘Nightcrawler’ Debuts in a Close Second with $10.44M

Monday Update: With updated grosses now being reported, Universal’s Ouija ultimately claimed first place this weekend with $10.7 million.  Nightcrawler took second place with $10.44 million.  Check back later today for full weekend actuals.

Sunday Update: It turned out to be an extremely close race for first place this weekend between Open Road’s Nightcrawler and Universal’s Ouija. The two films are currently tied for first with weekend studio estimates of $10.9 million each, so final rankings won’t be known until actuals are released on Monday. It should be noted that on Friday and Saturday, Ouija grossed $8.4 million, while Nightcrawler took in $7.87 million.

Open Road’s Nightcrawler debuted with an estimated $10.91 million. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal appeared set to lead the weekend after a close second place finish on Friday, but Friday’s $3.2 million performance ultimately wasn’t affected by Halloween as much as anticipated. Nightcrawler was able to open in line with pre-release expectations, which were boosted a bit by the film’s strong reviews and relatively strong online activity over the past few weeks. The film opened 17 percent below the $13.15 million start of Open Road’s End of Watch back in September of 2012. Nightcrawler received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film isn’t going over as well with audiences as it has with critics.

With the aid of Halloween, Universal’s Ouija took in an estimated $10.9 million this weekend. The low-budget PG-13 horror film from Platinum Dunes didn’t hold up all that well during the midweek, but rebounded quite nicely on Halloween and maintained momentum throughout the rest of the weekend. Ouija fell 45 percent from last weekend, which represents a good second weekend hold for a horror film. Ouija has grossed a very solid $34.96 million through ten days of release. That is in line with expectations and places the film 34 percent ahead of the $26.11 million ten-day take of last year’s Carrie.

It was an extremely tight race for places three through seven this weekend, as third place and seventh place were separated by just $1.35 million. With that in mind, the order of finish could still change around a bit when actuals are released on Monday. Holdovers in general held up well this weekend, thanks in part to the limited amount of new competition in the marketplace.

Sony’s Fury claimed third place with an estimated $9.1 million. The David Ayer directed World War II film starring Brad Pitt held up nicely this weekend, as it was down 32 percent from last weekend. Fury surpassed the $60 million mark this weekend and has grossed $60.44 million in 17 days. The film continues to perform in line with expectations and is currently running 4 percent ahead of the $57.86 million 17-day take of Sony’s The Monuments Men earlier this year.

Fox’s Gone Girl placed in fourth with an estimated $8.8 million. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film starring Ben Affleck held up very well, as it was down just 20 percent from last weekend. This weekend’s hold was especially impressive given the added competition the film faced from Nightcrawler. Gone Girl has grossed a very impressive $136.60 million in 31 days. The film is already the highest grossing film of Fincher’s career and is now just $13.40 million away from reaching the $150 million mark.

The Book of Life rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $8.3 million. Fox’s modestly budgeted computer animated film was down a slim 17 percent from last weekend. Like Ouija, The Book of Life received a boost from the holiday weekend (though its boost was on Saturday). The film also likely received an added boost from moviegoers who wanted to catch it before Disney’s Big Hero 6 arrives in the marketplace next weekend. The Book of Life surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a solid $40.52 million in 17 days.

John Wick took sixth place with an estimated $8.05 million. The Keanu Reeves led action thriller from Lionsgate did lose a bit of momentum over the weekend, as it was down 44 percent from last weekend. With that said, John Wick is still performing on the high end of expectations with $27.59 million in ten days. John Wick has already out-grossed the $26.42 million final gross of 2008’s Street Kings and is in good shape to surpass the $38.36 million final take of last year’s 47 Ronin before the end of its run.

The Weinstein Company’s St. Vincent placed in seventh with an estimated $7.75 million. The low-budget comedy starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy held up especially well this weekend, as it remained even with last weekend’s performance. St. Vincent was helped out this weekend by strong word of mouth and from expanding into an additional 270 locations. The film has grossed $19.53 million to date and will hope to continue to hold up well going forward.

The weekend’s other two new wide releases were both dead on arrival. Clarius’ Before I Go to Sleep debuted on the low end of its already low expectations with an estimated $2.03 million, while Lionsgate’s Saw 10th Anniversary opened with a very disappointing $650,000. That gave Before I Go to Sleep and Saw 10th Anniversary respective per-location averages of just $1,047 and $315 for the frame.

On the platform front, Fox Searchlight’s Birdman took in an estimated $2.51 million from 231 locations. That gave the critically acclaimed Alejandro G. Iñárritu directed film starring Michael Keaton a healthy, but not exceptional, per-location average of $10,866 for the frame. Birdman has grossed $5.00 million through 17 days of platform release.

Saturday Update: Ouija led Halloween Day as it took in $3.5 million on Friday, bringing the pic’s 8-day total to $27.6 million. The film is currently running 25 percent ahead of the pace of last year’s Carrie remake and should take in around $9.7 million for its sophomore frame.

Open Road reports that Nightcrawler bowed to $3.2 million on Friday, a solid start for the Dan Gilroy film given the deflation that occurs on Halloween for most films. Early word of mouth is strong with a 93 percent Flixster user score, lining up with critics’ 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes score as of Saturday morning. BoxOffice projects a healthy $13 million weekend and a first place finish overall for the modestly budgeted flick.

Fury grabbed another $1.95 million to start its third weekend, giving it $53.3 million in the bank through 15 days of release. Look for a weekend close to $8.9 million.

Last week’s top movie, John Wick, added $1.83 million to start its second weekend. With $21.4 million total so far, BoxOffice projects a $7.9 million second frame.

Rounding out the top five, Gone Girl added $1.8 million yesterday, giving it $129.6 million in all through the start of its fifth frame. BoxOffice projects a weekend of $8.2 million for the hit adaptation.

Meanwhile, St. Vincent added $1.68 million and boosted its total to $13.2 million thus far. Strong word of mouth is driving the dramedy as it should continue playing well through the upcoming holiday season. BoxOffice projects a $5.8 million weekend.

Clarius Entertainment’s Before I Go to Sleep started with $575,000 from 1,935 locations yesterday. Unfortunately, the film’s Flixster score as of Saturday morning stands at a weak 38 percent, while critics have given it 54 percent. BoxOffice projects $1.9 million for the weekend.

Birdman grossed $505,000 from 231 locations as its expansion continues this weekend. With $3 million in the bank so far, look for a weekend close to $2.3 million.

The Saw 10th Anniversary re-issue didn’t catch fire, unfortunately. It drew an estimated $320,000 from 2,063 locations for a per-theater average of $155. BoxOffice projects in the vicinity of $700,000 for the weekend.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday morning for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Nightcrawler could top expectations by ending up with $14 million during its debut frame.

Check back tomorrow morning for official studio estimates.

Friday Update #1: Open Road Films reports that Nightcrawler earned an estimated $515,000 from Thursday evening shows. By comparison, last week’s John Wick earned $870,000 as part of a $14.4 million opening weekend, while A Walk Among the Tombstones took in $430,000 as part of its $12.8 million debut back in September. The pic reportedly cost a modest $8 million to produce, so this early start–combined with an excellent 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes score–bodes well for a profitable run.

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