Weekend Box Office: GONE GIRL Edges ANNABELLE in a Tight Race for No. 1

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Last week, I told you that Fox’s Gone Girl and The Conjuring spin-off Annabelle were definitely worth your time and money. Both new films far surpassed my expectations, and helped give the box office a much-needed boost.

The latest feature from director David Fincher opened with a superb $38 million, while low budget  Annabelle debuted closely behind Gone Girl ($61M budget) with a terrific $37.2 million. The horror prequel, which was No. 1 after Friday, cost only $6.5 million to produce!

This is Fincher’s career best, ahead of Panic Room‘s $30 million  and the third-best for Ben Affleck following Pearl Harbor ($59M) and Daredevil ($40.3M).

The final figures could change on Monday, but this is good news for both pics after earning a flat “B” CinemaScore. Moreover, critics were less kind and gave the demon doll spin-off a negative 31% on the Tomatometer. No doubt that TV advertising is still what most directly impacts overall – they’ve milked the-little-girl-running-to-the-mom scene so much in the countless TV spots.

Sony’s The Equalizer, the revenge thriller starring Denzel Washington came in third place in its second weekend with $19 million.The top three films are all rated R, which limits their appeal to younger ticket-buyers.

A kid-friendly The Boxtrolls and The Maze Runner, which fell just 34 and 44 percent from last week’s totals, rounded out the top five.

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The Nicolas Cage-led remake Left Behind was the other new semi-wide opener of the weekend. The faith-based remake was one of the worst debuts of Cage’s career. It couldn’t muster to more than sixth place, with an estimated $6.85 million from 1,825 locations.

Next Friday’s new wide releases include Dracula Untold, The Judge, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Addicted, while in limited release, two notables stand out with Whiplash and Kill the Messenger.

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