“Ouija” and “Nightcrawler” are effectively tied for first place at the box office, providing a little excitement in an otherwise deadly Halloween weekend at the multiplexes reports Variety.
Both films picked up roughly $10.9 million, but a clear leader could be determined once final numbers come in on Monday. Whether the victor is “Ouija” or “Nightcrawler” it will still be the lowest grossing number one ranked film since the first weekend in September when “Guardians of the Galaxy” topped the box office with $10.4 million.
“Nightcrawler,” a twisty thriller about an ethically warped crime reporter (Jake Gyllenhaal) debuted across 2,766 locations. Open Road, which picked up “Nightcrawler” in Cannes, saw an opportunity and pushed the film back from its original Oct. 17 release date when it would have faced stiffer competition from Brad Pitt’s “Fury.” The film cost $8.5 million to produce and has been a critical favorite.
The overall box office was down roughly 25% from the previous year’s numbers. Major studios steered clear of the weekend, because Halloween fell on a Friday, cutting into one of the biggest movie-going nights of the week.
The other films hoping to take advantage of the lack of major releases were less fortunate than “Nightcrawler.” Clarius Entertainment’s “Before I Go to Sleep” bombed with a $2 million bow from 1,935 locations, below projections of $5 million. It’s the latest dud from the newly minted distributor behind “And So It Goes” ($15.2 million) and “Return to Oz” ($11.1 million). The psychological thriller starred Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, the pair behind this spring’s box office nonentity, “The Railway Man.” Threepeat?
Though more seasonally appropriate, the tenth anniversary re-release of “Saw” met with even greater audience indifference. Jigsaw’s return mustered an anemic $650,000 in ticket sales. Like last summer’s re-release of “Ghostbusters,” “Saw’s” theatrical resurrection showed the limitations of revivals in an age where cinematic chestnuts are instantly available via streaming services.
Holdovers “Fury” and “Gone Girl” split up the bulk of adult audiences between them, earning $9 million and $8.8 million, respectively. With a domestic total of $136.6 million, “Gone Girl” is now David Fincher’s highest-grossing stateside release, supplanting “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Rounding out the top five was “The Book of Life,” as the animated Day of the Dead film picked up $8.3 million pushing its total to $40.5 million.
Coming in at number six, Lionsgate’s “John Wick” fell 44% to $8 million in its second weekend, pushing its total to $27.6 million. Seventh place finisher “St. Vincent” held strongly, dipping 35% to $7.7 million and bringing its cumulative results to just shy of $20 million.
Opera lovers continued to turn out for “The Met: Live in HD’s” season at the multiplexes, as the live transmission of Bizet’s “Carmen” earned $2.3 million in North America.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s “Birdman” is shaping up to be an art house breakout despite its oddball premise. The show business satire picked up $2.5 million from 231 theaters, bringing its domestic total to $5 million.
Sony Pictures Classics continued to roll out “Whiplash,” moving the drama about an aspiring musician from 46 to 61 screens and picking up $275,346, for a per screen average of $4,514. The film has earned $1.1 million since debuting a month ago.
“Citizenfour” continued to benefit from controversy surrounding Edward Snowden. The NSA whistleblower documentary scored $210,049, a per screen average of $5,677, after expanding from five to 37 screens. The Radius-TWC film has earned $210,049 after two weeks. The company’s Daniel Radcliffe horror film “Horns” was less successful, picking up $104,357 from 103 screens. It has been available on demand for a month, where it fared better, picking up north of $1 million.
The meagre box office returns were a throat clearing of sorts before the arrival next week of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” both of which are on pace to generate north of $50 million when the debut.