Box Office: ‘Ouija’ scares to no. 1 as ‘Birdman’ continues to soar

Moviegoers wanted to get scared the weekend before Halloween and critics opinions weren't going to matter much when it came to Universal Pictures' “Ouija.”  The new horror flick based on the iconic board game earned dismal reviews, but still opened at no. 1 with an estimated $20 million.  That was slightly lower than expectations, but with a reported budget of $5 million “Ouija” will still pull an easy profit for the studio.  

Debuting at no. 2 was Lionsgate's “John Wick” with $14.1 million over the three-day.  “Wick” actually debuted higher than pre-release polling indicated and is star Keanu Reeves' largest debut since 2008's “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”  That's not saying much, but after the dismal performance of “47 Ronin” last Christmas Reeves (and, no doubt, his agent) will take it.

Last weekend's champ “Fury” dropped to no. 3 with another $13 million and $46 to date. David Ayers' WWII drama is looking at finishing somewhere between $80-90 million domestic.  Like most releases these days it will need to perform substantially overseas to eventually turn a profit.

David Fincher's “Gone Girl” continues its stellar run at no. 4 with another $11.1 million and $124 million so far. Sometime this week “Girl” will surpass “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” as Fincher's highest grossing domestic release.

Another 20th Century Fox flick, “The Book of Life,” rounded out the top five with $9.8 million and $29.9 million over its first 10 days.  The positively reviewed animated flick has one more weekend to mine the family audience until Disney's “Big Hero 6” debuts on Nov. 7.

Expanding to 2,282 theaters was The Weinstein Company's “St. Vincent.”  The Bill Murray dramedy earned a good $8 million for $9.1 million so far. Weinstein will be hoping word of mouth fuels a solid box office run for the well reviewed flick, but “St. Vincent” doesn't look like the potential breakout hit many in the media thought it could be after the film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Looking more promising is 20th Century Fox's critically acclaimed thriller “Birdman.”  The Alejandro González Iñárritu drama expanded to 50 theaters for a superb $28,720 per screen average for $1.4 million and $2 million to date. The Oscar player will continue to expand across the country in the coming weeks.

Also in limited release, Radius TWC opened the stealth Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” in five theaters.  The doc earned a superb $125,000 or $25,000 per screen.

New releases this Halloween include “Nightcrawler” with Jake Gyllenhaal, a “Saw” 10th anniversary re-release and “Before I Go to Sleep.”

Final box office actuals are released on Monday.