Thanks to a Halloween boost, Universal’s holdover Ouija held far better than expected in its second weekend to tie with Jake Gyllenhaal's new indie crime-thriller Nightcrawler for the North American box office crown.
Ouija took in an estimated $10.9 million from 2,899 theaters for a 10-day domestic total of $35 million. Open Road Films’ critically acclaimed Nightcrawler, playing in 2,766 locations, is also estimated a weekend take of $10.9 million.
The race won’t officially be called until Monday morning when final grosses are tallied, although most rivals have Ouija slightly ahead.
Box office observers had expected Nightcrawler to win by a safe margin, but Ouija fell just 45 percent, far less than most horror titles.
That doesn’t mean it was a great weekend overall. Revenue was down 20 percent from the previous frame after moviegoing plummeted on Halloween itself (it’s the first time in six years that the holiday has fallen on a Friday). Hollywood studios considered the weekend such a wash that they didn’t release one new film, leaving the marquee free for indie offerings — and the rerelease of Saw.
Saw, celebrating its 10th anniversary, came in well below expectations, grossing just $650,000 from 2,063 locations as horror fans clearly opted for Ouija.
Produced and financed by Bold Films, Nightcrawler marks the feature directorial debut of Dan Gilroy and stars Gyllenhaal as a hungry freelance journalist who looks to further his career by exposing L.A.’s underground crime scene. Open Road Films is handling the $8.5 million film domestically.
Halloween or no Halloween, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth's British sci-fi thriller Before I Go to Sleep quickly bombed at the U.S. box office for distributor Clarius Entertainment, earning an estimated $2 million from 1,935 theaters.
That makes it the worst wide opening of Kidman and Firth’s respective careers, not accounting for inflation. Kidman’s previous lowest was Birth ($2.4 million) in 2002, while Firth’s was The Last Legion($2.7 million) in 2007.
Scott Free, Millennium and StudioCanal partnered on Before I Go to Sleep, directed by Rowan Joffeand distributed by Clarius Entertainment in the U.S. Based on the book by S. J. Watson's book, the film stars Kidman as a woman who wakes up every day of her life with no memory for her life she was in early early twenties.