Affleck's 'Gone Girl' snatches U.S. box office title
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[October 06, 2014]
By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK
(Reuters) - Movie thriller "Gone Girl," starring Ben
Affleck as a man suspected of causing his wife's
disappearance, overcame a demonic doll named "Annabelle"
to win a tight weekend race at U.S. and Canadian movie
"Gone Girl" pulled in $38 million over its first three days
in domestic theaters, according to estimates released Sunday by
tracking firm Rentrak. Horror flick "Annabelle" ranked close
behind with $37.2 million.
Last weekend's No. 1 film, thriller "The Equalizer" starring
Denzel Washington, dropped to third. The movie collected $19
million over the weekend and brought its cumulative domestic
sales to $64.5 million.
"Gone Girl," based on a best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn,
earned strong reviews from critics, with an 87 percent positive
rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.
Affleck stars as a writer who is caught in a media circus when
his wife goes missing and the police suspect he is responsible.
Rosamund Pike plays his wife.
"There was a confluence of events that created an urgency to see
this thought-provoking film," said Chris Aronson, president of
domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, the unit of 21st
Century Fox that released the $61 million film.
"This is a water cooler movie and I think it will play and play
and play," said Aronson, adding that it marked "The Social
Network" director David Fincher's biggest-ever opening and that
the studio had expected an opening of about $25 million.
Aronson said the 60 percent female, 40 percent male audience had
skewed a bit more male than he had expected, saying "It's
becoming a bit of a date movie."
Horror fans turned out for "Annabelle," a spin-off of last
year's hit "The Conjuring." The low-budget movie produced for
just $6.5 million tells the story of a young husband and wife
who become terrorized by a porcelain doll given as a gift.
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"We're very pleased," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic
distribution for Warner Bros., a Time Warner Inc unit, noting the
film exceeded expectations across the marketplace but performed
especially well with Hispanic moviegoers.
Fellman said the studio would have been happy with a total over $20
million, "but we're looking at nearly $40 million."
Both executives pointed to strong box office numbers across the
board, after a tepid summer and a slow September.
Elsewhere, animated movie "The Boxtrolls" took fourth place with
$12.4 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters. Young
adult thriller "The Maze Runner" finished fifth, grossing $12
Biblical thriller "Left Behind," which was panned by critics,
debuted in sixth place with $6.9 million.
"The Equalizer" was released by Sony Corp's movie studio. Comcast
Corp's Universal Pictures distributed "The Boxtrolls." Fox released
"Maze Runner," and Freestyle Releasing distributed "Left Behind."
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Abigail
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