‘Gone Girl’ bests newcomers


The thriller from David Fincher out-grossed each of the several new titles that opened this weekend. Gone Girl dipped just 29 percent to earn $26.8 million. To date, and after 10 days in theatres, the film has raked in $78.3 million. If it continues to hold strong, Girl should surpass The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s $127.5 million total to become Fincher’s most successful movie.

In second place, Dracula Untold managed an impressive $23.5 million. The action-horror flick exceeded the expectations of pundits who believed it would open in the mid-teens. Audiences were mostly male (57 percent) and majority Hispanic (31 percent). Overseas, Untold acquitted itself even better: The flick earned $62.6 million for a worldwide total of $86.1 million. These figures appear even more impressive when one considers Dracula’s production costs; the movie was made for $70 million, and thus turned a profit after only one weekend in theatres. Not bad for a flick lacking in marquee-name stars.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day boasts two such celebs in prominent roles, Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner, and performed more or less to expectation with a $19.1 million debut. The weekend’s third-place film proved a hit among families, which comprised 67 percent of its audience. Disney should be pleased; the feature cost just $28 million to make. It may be no Frozen, but Alexander will be profitable.

Although not many were expecting a boffo opening weekend for The Judge, the first film from Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey’s production company Team Downey opened even weaker than predicted. Instead of clocking in at No. 4, The Judge debuted behind holdover Annabelle to open at No. 5. It earned $13.3 million to Annabelle’s $16.4 million. Unfortunately, The Judge targets the same adult audience as Gone Girl, a film that continues to hold considerable sway among viewers. Those who did purchase tickets to The Judge seemed to enjoy it: They awarded the movie an A- CinemaScore grade, which bodes well for a steady if not spectacular theatrical run.

Finally, the specialty realm experienced a few successes and disappointments of its own. The Weinstein Company’s St. Vincent proved a modest hit in limited release, grossing $121,000 from four theatres, which works out to a per-location average of $30,250. The studio’s One Chance, however, was much harder hit, raking in a weak $32,800 from 43 theatres (per-location average of just $763).

Potential Oscar contender Whiplash appeared to benefit from positive festival buzz, earning $144,000 from six theatres, or an average of $24,000 per location.

It was documentary Meet the Mormons, however, that proved the weekend’s most surprising success story. Screening in just 317 theatres across the country, the film about six Mormon families earned a great $2.7 million.