Box Office: ‘Gone Girl’ Edges Out ‘Dracula Untold,’ ‘The Judge’ With $26.8 Million

Box Office: 'Gone Girl' Edges Out

Gone Girl,” “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and “Dracula Untold” emerged relatively unscathed from a box office pile-up this weekend, while Robert Downey Jr.’s “The Judge” got banged around at the multiplexes.

David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s marital mystery was at the top for the second week in a row, unearthing $26.8 million and bringing its total to $78.3 million. At this rate, it could surpass “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” ($127.5 million domestic) as Fincher’s biggest commercial success.

Meanwhile, “Dracula Untold” exceeded pre-release tracking that had the picture opening to $18 million by sinking its fangs into $23.5 million across 2,887 locations. The story of how Vlad the Impaler developed a taste for blood arrives courtesy of Universal Pictures and cost $70 million to produce.

“It’s a very, very solid result,” said Nikki Rocco, Universal’s distribution chief. “It’s not a horror film. It’s an untold story and there is some romance which appeals to females.”

Indeed, “Dracula Untold” brought in a premiere audience that was 43% female, an impressively balanced crowd given the action-heavy subject matter, and more than 50% under the age of 30. Seventeen percent of its box office was from Imax screenings and 10% from premium large formats.

Younger crowds turned out for Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” as the $28-million production picked up a respectable $19.1 million from 3,088 locations. The low price tag means the film will likely be profitable.

“It sets us up in a great way as the lighter alternative to a lot of the darker genre fare that’s in theaters this month,” said Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios’ executive vice president of theatrical distribution.

Monday’s Columbus Day holiday and Canada’s Thanksgiving means kids will be out of school, which should help goose the film’s ticket sales, the Disney distribution chief argued.

That “The Judge” got made at all is a testament to Downey Jr.’s star wattage, but his power was not great enough to secure a strong opening for the courtroom drama — the kind of talky picture that Hollywood is loath to make these days. “The Judge” grossed a disappointing $13.3 million from 3,003 locations, lower than pre-release estimates which put it in the $16 million to $18 million range. The film was produced by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow for $50 million, but struggled to find a place among older audiences who were lured instead to “Gone Girl.”

Ticket-buyers seemed to enjoy the film, giving it an A-minus CinemaScore rating. Its opening crowd was 85% over the age of 25.

“I’m hoping we settle in,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution. “It’s an audience pleaser and hopefully we can swing a little younger, get some good word of mouth and hang in there. We have to let it play one day at a time.”

Perhaps the weekend’s biggest surprise was Lionsgate and CodeBlack’s “Addicted,” which scored an impressive $7.6 million from just 846 locations. The low-budget thriller about a woman (Sharon Leal) who threatens her picture-perfect marriage by engaging in a series of affairs targeted African American audiences and had been expected to make between $3 million and $4 million.

Among holdovers, “Annabelle” dropped 58% in its second weekend to $16.4 million, but the horror film ranks as an unqualified success for New Line, which produced “The Conjuring” spinoff. It will pass the $100 million mark globally this weekend — not bad for a picture that only cost $6.7 million to produce.

Also sticking around, “The Equalizer” added $9.7 million to its nearly $80 million bounty. At this rate, it will likely pull in $100 million domestically, only the fifth Denzel Washington film to hit that mark. “The Maze Runner” is also eying $100 million domestically, adding $7.5 million to its $83.8 million total.

In limited release, “St. Vincent,” the story of a curmudgeon (Bill Murray) who befriends the boy next door, earned $121,054 in four theaters. Its $30,920 per-screen average will likely be the highest one for the weekend. The comedy, which was co-produced by the Weinstein Company and Chernin Entertainment, will expand to 60 theaters in the top 25 markets next weekend before going wide on Oct. 24.

The film was originally supposed to just go wide at the end of the month, but the Weinstein Company altered its playbook.

“We wanted to build word of mouth and get the heat out there a little to create some excitement in the marketplace,” said Erik Lomis, president of theatrical distribution at the Weinstein Company.

Another awards hopeful, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Whiplash” picked up $143,503 on six screens for a per-screen average of $23,917. The film features Miles Teller as a musical prodigy and J.K. Simmons as his demanding mentor. Reviews have been sterling.

Journalism drama, “Kill the Messenger,” which finds Jeremy Renner sans crossbow as a reporter who exposes CIA corruption, grossed $939,000 from 374 theaters. Focus Features is distributing the picture.

Overall, the box office was at $150 million, up nearly 30% from the year-ago weekend, when “Gravity” topped charts for a second week in a row and “Captain Phillips” opened at more than $25.7 million. That marks the second week in a row that box office returns have exceeded those of 2013 — a nice change of pace for the film business after its worst summer results in more than a decade.

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  1. devin says:

    Question: When the Oscar, Golden Globe, People’s Choice or other industry awards roll around next year as they always do, will a documentary film about being Mormon be nominated? After all, it made the Top 10 box office list opening weekend, it’s the first time I can recall a world religion has actually releasing a major motion picture in commercial theaters (versus members of a church doing so per se), all net proceeds are going to be given to the American Red Cross and it has climbed to No. 30 so far on the list of the top 100 documentary films of all time.

  2. reifenberger says:

    So… If i can only go see one movie this weekend which one should I go see? I’m taking out a young lady and don’t want to make a bad choice. Also, as these movies start becoming available for online rental, it will show up here: http://www.vunify.com/whats-on/in-theaters-now

  3. Tough muddier says:

    Nothing on Meet the Mormons – which was in the top 10 and had the highest per screen average in the top 10. Why? I think it’s quite a success story even if you don’t like the idea of the movie…

    • Joe_Sm says:

      Hate to burst your bubble, but Meet the Mormons was not a top ten movie for the weekend.

      http://boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?yr=2014&wknd=41&p=.htm

    • Randomer says:

      Perhaps because 85% of the audience to this movie were active members that were instructed to buy tickets & attend under the advice of the Apostles, Stake Presidencies & Bishoprics of the church. This is indicated by a 86% drop off in movie attendance from Saturday to Sunday.

      These are not real movie goers, these are attendees used to pad the real numbers.

      I agree with Nick though. Do read CESletter.com

      • Nick says:

        Again, those numbers are inflated by the fact that the church requested that the membership attend. Stakes and wards bought out entire theaters, then suggested that members buy tickets from them, and to consider it a “donation.” They encouraged members to buy tickets even if the members couldn’t attend the movie.

        L Ron Hubbard pulled some of the same shenanigans with his novel, Battlefield Earth. He had scientologists go around to all the bookstores and buy up all available copies, thus artificially boosting sales in order to get the book on bestseller lists.

        So yes, the movie did well in some locations, but it was artificially propped up. Once again, mormons are obsessed with fake stats, a la “we have 15 million members!!” When only a fraction of that number participate in any meaningful way.

      • RodO says:

        That’s a lot of Mormons then… It blows my mind that would would think that’s a criteria for not reporting numbers. Embarrassed for comments like that… one can find many other outlets that reported, Variety, isn’t the only authorized source of information in the entertainment business.

        The Wrap: “Rocks the Box Office… its per-screen average of $7,278 wasn’t far behind those of Gone Girl” ($8,161) and Dracula Untold ($8,125)… “There’s something else that makes “Meet the Mormons” a Hollywood anomaly — The Church is donating all net proceeds from the film’s theatrical release to the American Red Cross.” The Wrap

        Deadline: “Documentary Meet The Mormons opened in 317 locations, one of the year’s widest non-fiction bows (John C. Reilly narrated doc Bears opened in nearly 1,800 theaters in April, grossing more than $4.77 million, for a $1,720 PTA and a $17.78M cume).

        The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints backed the doc, releasing it through Purdie Distribution. It grossed more than $2.43 million Friday and Saturday, giving it a two-day $7,633 PTA. The feature placed 10th in the overall box office even without factoring in Sunday estimates (Mormons don’t watch movies on that day as part of their religious practice). Purdie said Sunday that Meet The Mormons was the number one film in more than 100 locations, with sold-out showings reported across the country, including New York, Detroit, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix and several California locations.”

    • Nick says:

      Perhaps they recognized it for the self-promotional tripe that it is, and declined to further the free advertising for the LDS church? CESletter.com will inform you about mormonism far better than the infomercial the church put out.

      • Nick says:

        @Rod- I happen to be a member of that group of people. I just happen to also disagree with the PR tactics the church has turned to lately.

      • RodO says:

        Wow! Talk about projection of your personal disregard for a group of people. If that’s the case, none of these numbers for ANY movie should be written about. EVERY SINGLE MOVIE has a P&A budget and a HUGE propaganda campaign, so please don’t be so ignorant that. You may not like the Mormon church or any mormon but the facts are the facts. Besides the below fact, THR, Deadline, Wrap, etc. has reported and so far estimates are either #10 or #11.

        “According to a new study previewed on March 15 by an expert panel convened at Pew’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practice what they preach about helping the needy. Led by Ram A. Cnaan, a renowned Israeli-born social-work scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, the study concludes that churchgoing Mormons “are the most pro-social members of American society.”

  4. CorinthianPony says:

    Too bad audiences aren’t turning out for “The Judge” – it’s an excellent movie, well-made and with superb acting, especially by the two Roberts, Downey and Duvall. I went back to see it again last night and enjoyed it just as much – but the whole theater was filled with older folks (mostly 50 and older). Ah, well – its running time (2 1/2 hours), R rating, the fact that it was playing in fewer theaters, and “Gone Girl” competing for the same audience all were against it. And older audiences often take their time and don’t come out on the opening weekend.

    I don’t want to hear ANYBODY complaining that Hollywood “just doesn’t make intelligent adult dramas any more,” when clearly, you put them out there and people don’t attend. I think all audiences want to see are blood, gore, superheroes and car chases — the great American box-office draws. “The Judge” is too smart and “talky” (I guess you might say that – since it actually has well-written dialogue…) for the room.

    I think if they had trimmed the movie’s length a little and aimed for a PG-13 instead of an R rating (there’s nothing in this movie that deserves an R except for a few f-words and a rather intense scene dealing with the failings of the elderly man’s bodily functions — any of which could have been edited out…) it might have done better. Sad because I’m a Downey fan and he worked so hard to promote this.

    • RodO says:

      You are missing the point, who cares about “the Mormons,” this discussion is NOT about that. Relax. We all get your point… but YOU seem NOT wanting too or get the point of marketing and Box Office #’s.
      So, I’ll repeat using different words.

      ALL movies become successful by playing to their core constituencies, especially debut weekend. ALL. It’s like saying, “oh, the only reason THAT movie did so well, was because of all the die-hard Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Sci-Fi, Horror, fans… etc. You are 100% RIGHT! 100%.

      Advertising campaigns are propaganda! They do pre-screenings, 2-3 weeks ahead of the opening, on both coasts. Why? Word of mouth. Print. Outdoor. Exclusives. TV commercials, Radio commercials, Social Media, talk shows from GA to late night, contests, appearances, colleges…. etc. Rhetoric, Propaganda. Incentives. EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. Again, your initial PR should ALWAYS target constituency, ALWAYS. That is how producers pitched and got the funding… jumping on the amount of people who pay for a “topic,” both US and Internationally. Basic business and communications 101.

      I can only assume, you must not be in the film/entertainment industry, own a business or directly be responsible for sales or your income solely dependent on the sales of a product. OR Dislike religion, ex-Mormon, dislike the Mormon Church… that’s the only logical explanation for your comments,

      I guess, the biggest is we’re coming from 2 different foundations. I was speaking of # reporting and you were giving a reason why YOU THINK Variety did not cover. With “facts” intermingled.

      • Nick says:

        Rod-

        2 points-

        1) Meryl Streep fans go see Meryl Streep movies because. . . they enjoy Meryl Streep movies. Mormons, in part, went to see MTM because their leaders told them to. There is a big difference. Not illegal, but a bit disingenuous for the LDS church to “recommend” that the stakes and wards fill the theaters, then try to point out tot he world how popular their movie is and how well it did on opening weekend.

        2) As someone pointed out above, this was not a top 10 movie at the box office, and therefore was legitimately excluded from Variety’s article.

    • Dave Trebas says:

      I enjoyed “The Judge” very much and think audiences will eventually find it and enjoy it also. “Gone Girl” however was simply amazing and had a built-in audience who enjoyed the book. It was like watching a modern day Hitchcock thriller.

  5. When movies are well-made but routine, invariably moviegoers will wait…and not spend the money on theater tickets, popcorn, et al. “The Judge” perhaps falls into this category.

  6. Not one word about “Addicted” outperforming expectations on JUST 800 screens despite almost unanimous negative reviews? Is this another Variety blackout?

      • dunstan says:

        Billy, as you noticed, there was a solid mention of that very fact. Clearly, Lionsgate was hoping to draw an “urban” audience to this film and they clearly succeeded. Whether it will do much more business is open to discussion. The trailer looked awful, as did the “50 Shades” trailer. In its trailer, “Addicted” came across as a Lifetime TV movie, with arch pedestrian dialogue and silly situations. Too bad, as I’ve heard the book was more intriguing.

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