Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Nightcrawler” and holdover “Ouija” were the only signs of life at the box office.
Halloween weekend was a ghost town for new releases, giving the supernatural thriller “Ouija” a narrow win over the crime drama “Nightcrawler,” with $3.5 million on Friday in the U.S.
Although Open Road’s “Nightcrawler” was runner-up on All Hallows’ Eve when it launched to $3.2 million, it will likely creep its way to the top, toward a $13 million debut, by weekend’s end.
“Nightcrawler” was close to taking the title of lowest-grossing weekend winner of the year from Marvel-Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which earned $10.4 million in early September in its sixth frame.
The crime drama, which cost $8.5 million to produce, follows Gyllenhaal as a freelancer who’s desperate for work when he discovers the dangerous world of L.A. crime journalism, ultimately leading him to go to any extreme for a meaty story.
“Nightcrawler,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, was bolstered by rave reviews, earning it a 93% ratting on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Ouija” — last weekend’s champ — grossed $3.5 million Stateside on Friday in its second weekend. Universal’s seance pic looks to clear between $10 million and $11 million this weekend, which would mark a 47% decline. The PG-13 pic is still showing hold with teen audiences.
“Ouija” was produced for less than $5 million by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and micro-budget master Jason Blum for Universal in tandem with Hasbro.
Holdovers continued to lead the rest of the pack, with the Brad Pitt starrer “Fury” coming in third. The WWII tank drama made $2 million on Friday as it shot toward $9 million to $10 million in its third week. The Sony pic will have earned almost $61 million by weekend’s end.
Ben Affleck’s “Gone Girl” continued to impress, finishing fourth on Friday in its fifth frame. The marital thriller brought in $1.8 million on Friday and is eyeing almost $8 million this weekend, when it will likely fall to fifth.
The movie is a runaway hit as it stands to earn between $135 million and $136 million by Sunday. “Gone Girl” — budgeted at $61 million — just passed “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” as David Fincher’s highest-grossing film in the U.S.
Another Fox title, “The Book of Life,” landed in fifth place on Friday with $1.1 million, but will move up to fourth by Sunday. The animated Day of the Dead pic is en route to north of $8 million this weekend, which would mark a 17% decline.
With most studios deciding against releasing new fare on Halloween, especially since it fell on a Friday this year (the first time since 2008), “Before I Go to Sleep” was this weekend’s only other newcomer. The Clarius Entertainment thriller starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman bowed to an estimated $571,000 on Friday with a lukewarm weekend launch just north of $2 million. The film is adapted from S.J. Watson’s novel of the same name.
Surprisingly, the 10th anniversary re-release of “Saw” disappointed with an estimated $320,000 on Friday and will likely reel in only $1 million. The horror classic opened to $55.2 million in 2004 and went on to haul $103 million worldwide.