UPDATE: According to Sunday’s estimates, Nightcrawler was just barely in the lead with $10.91 million in weekend earnings to Ouija‘s $10.9 million. But now the actual numbers are in, and Ouija ended up grossing $10.7 million while Nightcrawler followed closely behind with $10.4 million, meaning Ouija was Halloween weekend’s box office winner.
ORIGINAL STORY: Halloween doesn’t always fall on a weekend, but when it does, it tends to hit the box office hard: People are too busy dressing up and taking their kids trick-or-treating to go to the movies. And while the weekend’s overall gross wasn’t too impressive—at $94.4 million, the box office hit its lowest since Sept. 12’s $91.1 million weekend—Ouija and Nightcrawler still managed to exceed expectations.
Nightcrawler, a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal in a performance that many critics have deemed a career high for the actor, opened with $10.91 million. Made on a budget of $8.5 million by Open Road Films, $10.91 million is a win for Nightcrawler. “We are excited about it,” CMO of Open Road Films, Jason Cassidy, told EW. “It’s a great movie and it’s been so well reviewed. We think we’ll have a nice run on it.”
Another movie that’s having a nice run: Ouija, a horror film that had a successful $20 million opening last weekend and almost snuck into the top spot again for a second time with a $10.9 million weekend. A good chunk of its success came, predictably, on Friday when it grossed more than any other film with $3.5 million, probably thanks to younger audiences who flocked to theaters to get a good, old-fashioned thrill.
World War II drama Fury—now in 3,313 theaters—came in right behind Nightcrawler and Ouija with a $9.1 million weekend. The film, which stars headline grabbers like Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf, has earned $60 million to date and was a historical (and, more notably, non-scary) alternative to other films out now. Gone Girl trailed behind Fury with a $8.8 million weekend, proving it’s going to take a lot to slow Amazing Amy down: The thriller, based on Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name, has earned $136.6 million since its Oct. 3 debut and only experienced a 21 percent drop from last weekend.
Although Keanu Reeves’ John Wick looked like it was going to break the top five thanks to critical buzz, animated comedy The Book of Life took the fifth spot instead with $8.3 million. The film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, features voice acting by stars like Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum, but the real draw is its kid-friendliness. The Book of Life is one of few films out now that doesn’t carry a PG-13 or R rating, leaving parents who want to take their kids to the theater essentially no choice. It helps that the film centers around Mexico’s Day of the Dead, a detail that makes The Book of Life appropriate for kids and Halloween.
1. Nightcrawler — $10.91 million
2. Ouija — $10.9 million ($35 million domestic total)
3. Fury — $9.1 million ($60.4 million domestic total)
4. Gone Girl — $8.8 million ($136.6 domestic total)
5. The Book of Life — $8.3 million ($40.5 domestic total)
Outside of the top five, John Wick grossed $8.05 million—a 43 percent decrease in sales from last weekend’s $14.15 million—which brings its domestic total to $27.6 million. St. Vincent, the comedy starring Bill Murray, followed with $7.75 million, bringing its domestic total to $19.5 million after four weeks on the big screen.
Dramatic thriller Before I Go to Sleep didn’t fare quite as well. The film, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, opened in over 1,900 theaters but made just $2.03 million. Saw, however, opened in over 2,000 theaters for its 10th anniversary and didn’t even break the million mark: Its weekend total was $650,000. Fox Searchlight’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, expanded this weekend into 231 theaters and earned $2.5 million.
In global news, Disney’s Big Hero 6 opened in Russia two weeks ago and has earned $10.3 million so far. The animated film opens next weekend in the U.S. alongside Christopher Nolan’s heavily anticipated Interstellar. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is still kicking in China, where it’s grossed $94.3 million to date, bringing its global total to $765 million.