Ben Affleck continued to chase Amy at the movie house this weekend, as David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl used its strong buzz to fend off four newcomers and retain the top spot at the box office. It made an estimated $26.8 million over the Columbus Day weekend, dropping a slender 29% from its strong opening last week. In 10 days, the R-rated thriller has earned a terrific $78.3 million – and there is much more to come. By this point next weekend, the film will likely surpass the final tallies of The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher’s prior, critically-acclaimed adaptations.
Despite a mediocre B CinemaScore from opening-day audiences, Gone Girl‘s stellar hold is likely due to a pent-up demand for films aimed at mature audiences. This summer’s slate of moviegoing options had very few desirable choices for audiences over 35 who were in the mood for some drama amidst all of the action-packed blockbusters. As a result, this fall has seen big grosses for R-rated thrillers like The Equalizer and Gone Girl. With solid weekday grosses and a strong second weekend, Gone Girl is performing akin to last fall’s leggy October hit Gravity, which dipped 23% its sophomore weekend. If the film continues its strong holds through October, a total of $150 million plus is definitely attainable.
The big surprise of the weekend was Dracula Untold, which despite a lack of big stars, good reviews and a lot of competition managed to give teens and horror-loving audiences something to be excited about. Earning $23.5 million in second place, the film made more in its first three days than I, Frankenstein made in its entire run back in the winter ($19.1 million). The opening was more in line with the Underworld franchise, whose four films debuted with between $20 and $27 million. An A- rating on CinemaScore bodes well for this title, which capitalized (along with Annabelle) on the Halloween month for bigger gain. The opening is also good news for Universal, which is hoping to reignite their monster films for a big franchise.
It was also a pretty good weekend for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which took in $19.1 million for third place. Debuting in line with expectations, the family comedy debuted slightly below the opening for Diary of a Wimpy Kid ($22.1 million). However, it had bigger starts than other Disney family titles this year, Muppets Most Wanted ($17 million) and Planes: Fire and Rescue ($17.5), both of which were sequels. Family audiences made up a reported two thirds of the crowd. With an A- CinemaScore and few comedy options to entertain the young ones, this could be a leggy October hit for the Mouse House.
Dropping 56% to fourth place was low-budget horror hit Annabelle, which made $16.4 million. That is a better hold than the Paranormal Activity sequels, as well Insidious Chapter 2, which suffered a 65% drop to make $13.8 million in its second weekend. However, it is not holding as well as The Conjuring, which dipped 47% in its sophomore week. Given the competition from Gone Girl and Dracula Untold, and the front-loaded horror genre, that’s still a healthy hold, though. With a $62.2 million take after 10 days, the film is on its way to an $85 million final – or about 13 times the film’s $6.5 million budget.