re-Halloween horror pic Ouija easily won the North American box office race with $20 million from 2,858 locations, while Keanu Reeves‘ action pic John Wick exceeded expectations in a needed win for the actor following the disastrous 47 Ronin.
John Wick, from Lionsgate, placed No. 2 with $14.2 million from 2,589 theaters to rank ahead of holdover Fury, the World War II war pic starring Brad Pitt that won last weekend’s contest.
Ouija, costing under $20 million to make and based on the classic Hasbro board game, summoned up another victory for Blumhouse Pictures, Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes and Universal following the microbudgeted Purge franchise. Rated PG-13, the female-fueled, teen-friendly title was produced in tandem with Hasbro. It’s not a surprise Ouija received a C CinemaScore; horror films often do.
Directed by Stiles White, Ouija stars an array of young television actors, including Daren Kagasoff and Bianca A. Santos, and follows a group of friends who uncover the dark powers of the Ouija board when trying to summon their recently deceased friend’s spirit. Universal’s marketing campaign included organizing a screening and seance at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
“Marketing did a fantastic job in going after the young female audience, and it worked to go out the week before Halloween,” said Universal’s Nikki Rocco.
More than 60 percent of Ouija ticket buyers were females, while 75 percent of the audience was under the age of 25 and nearly 40 percent, Hispanic. John Wick was the mirror opposite: Males made up 60 percent of the audience, while 77 percent of the audience was over the age of 25.
Directed by Chad Stahelski, the R-rated John Wick stars Reeves as an ex-hitman who comes out of a peaceful retirement to hunt down the gangsters who have taken everything from him. Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Willem Dafoe also star.
Heading into the weekend, pre-release tracking suggested John Wick would earn only $7 million to $8 million. A berth in Imax theaters contributed to the film’s overperformance, as did strong reviews (18 percent of total revenue came from Imax locations).
“We’re ecstatic over the results,” said Lionsgate’s David Spitz. “Keanu has such an amazing body of work, and John Wick will be added to that list.”
Sony’s Fury held well in its second weekend, dipping 45 percent to $13 million from 3,173 locations to place No. 3, and pushing its domestic total to $46.1 million. Overseas, the WWII war pic, starring Brad Pitt, launched in its first 15 marketings, taking in a solid $11.2 million.
David Fincher‘s Gone Girl placed No. 4 in its third weekend, grossing $11.1 million for a domestic total of $124.1 million. The Fox film is just days away from overtaking The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5 million) to become Fincher’s top-grossing film in North America, not accounting for inflation.
Fox also took the No. 5 spot with The Book of Life. The animated film likewise sported a strong hold, falling 42 percent in its second weekend to $9.8 million for a domestic total of $29.9 million.
The Weinstein Co. and Chernin Entertainment’s St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray opposite Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts, moved up the chart to No. 6 as it expanded nationwide in its third weekend. The indie comedy grossed $8.1 million from 2,282 theaters for a total $9.2 million. St. Vincent nabbed an A- CinemaScore, ensuring strong word of mouth.
St. Vincent was sandwiched between two family films as Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day placed No. 7 in its third weekend, falling 39 percent to $7 million for a domestic total of $45.5 million. Overseas, Very Bad Day earned $2.5 million from 18 markets for an international total of $11.2 million and global cume of $56.7 million.
The bigger news for Disney internationally was Big Hero 6, which opened in Russia and the Ukraine on Saturday to take advantage of upcoming school holidays. The animated tentpole, which doesn’t launch in the U.S. for another two weeks, grossed $5 million, including $4.8 million in Russia.
At the U.S. specialty box office, the big headline was Laura Poitras‘ Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, which debuted to $125,172 from five theaters for a location average of $25,034, the best number since Waiting for Superman in 2010 ($34,758). Radius-TWC is handling the controversial film in the U.S.
Among holdovers, Fox Searchlight’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, continued to fly high, moving up to No. 16 as it expanded into a total of 50 theaters. The dramedy earned $1.5 million for a location average of $28,961 and domestic total of $2.1 million.
Dear White People also continued to prosper, grossing $1.3 million as it expanded into 384 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $3.4 million for Roadside Attractions.
Here are the estimated top 10 films for the weekend of Oct. 24-26 at the domestic box office:
Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Change, Cume
1. Ouija, 1/2,858, Sony/QED, $20 million
2. John Wick, 1/2,859, Lionsgate, $14.2 million
3. Fury, 2/3,173, Sony/QED, $13 million, -45%, $46.1 million
4. Gone Girl, 4/3,106, Fox/New Regency, $11.1 million, -37%, $124.1 million
5. The Book of Life, 2/3,113, Fox/ReelFX, $9.8 million, -42%, $29.9 million
6. St. Vincent, 3/2,282, The Weinstein Co., $8.1 million, +1111%, $9.2 million
7. Alexander…Very Bad Day, 3/3,117, Disney, $7 million, -39%, $45.5 million
8. The Best of Me, 2/2,936, Relativity, $4.7 million, -53%, $17.7 million
9. The Judge, 3/2,610, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow, $4.34 million, -45%, $34.4 million
10. Dracula Untold, 3/2,364, Universal/Legendary, $4.3 million, -57%, $48.3 million