Box Office: 'Gone Girl' Trumps Flood of New Films With $26.8M Finish

'Dracula Untold' and 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' enjoy OK starts, while Robert Downey Jr.'s 'The Judge' struggles for adult attention; overseas, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' opens to record numbers in China

Turning into a watercooler sensation, David Fincher's Gone Girl easily stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend, trumping a flood of new films with $26.8 million from 3,284 theaters. The adult thriller, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, fell a scant 29 percent.

The film's stellar hold puts the big screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn's popular novel on track to become Fincher's top-grossing film in North America, not accounting for inflation. His best showing to date is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127.5 million). Through Sunday, its 10th day in release, Gone Girl's domestic total is $78.3 million for 20th Century Fox and New Regency.

"David Fincher has crafted a provocative thriller about marriage that has clearly touched a nerve with audiences," Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson said. "It's pretty exciting."

Gone Girl also continued to soar overseas, earning $27 million from 52 markets for a foreign total of $63.3 million and world haul of $141.6 million.

Universal and Legendary Pictures' origins pic Dracula Untold, fueled by males (57 percent), came in No. 2 with $23.5 million from 2,889 theaters. The movie played to an ethnically diverse audience, with Hispanics leading the way (31 percent). This wasn't a surprise after a stellar debut in Latin America the prior weekend.

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Overseas, Dracula Untold continued to draw blood, earning another $33.9 million for an international total of $62.6 million and global total of $86.1 million. Russia turned in an outstanding $9.6 million.

Costing $70 million to make but lacking any big names, Dracula Untold chronicles the transformation of Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) into the world's most notorious vampire. Gary Shore makes his feature directorial debut on the pic produced by Michael De Luca. The film did especially well in Imax theaters, which represented 17 percent of the overall gross and boosted the bottom line. "I thought $20 million domestically would be on the high side," said Universal domestic distribution president Nikki Rocco.

Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day placed No. 3 with an estimated $19.1 million from 3,088 theaters.

Very Bad Day, playing in 3,088 locations, provided a respite for families, which made up 67 percent of the audience. Based on Judith Viorst's 1972 children's book about a family suffering through a horrible day, the adaptation stars Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould. Disney produced the $28 million movie with 21 Laps and The Jim Henson Co., and is already in good shape financially, considering Very Bad Day's modest budget.

"Amid a sea of darker genre fare, this movie is a lighter alternative and we are set up for a long, profitable run," Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis said. Internationally, Very Bad Day launched to $2.8 million from its first 14 markets for a global bow of $21.9 million.

In North America, Gone Girl made life tough for Robert Downey Jr.'s new courtroom dramedy The Judge, since both target adults. The $50 million movie opened to a tepid $13.3 million from 3,003 theaters, putting it at No. 5 behind horror holdover Annabelle, which placed No. 4 in its second weekend with a pleasing $16.4 million for a domestic total of $62.2 million for New Line and Warners.

Annabelle, a prequel to New Line's blockbuster The Conjuring, earned another $27 million overseas to jump the $100 million mark, finishing Sunday with a global total of $122.5 million.

The Judge, like Dracula Untold and Very Bad Day, did earn an A- CinemaScore, so Warners and Downey hope for strong legs. Prerelease tracking suggested the film would open in the mid- to high-teens.

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Downey has plenty riding on the movie, the first title from Team Downey, the production company he runs with his wife, Susan. Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures made The Judge, which also stars Robert Duvall and Vera Farmiga. Downey, known the world over for his blockbuster Iron Man franchise and Hollywood's highest-paid actor, tirelessly campaigned for The Judge.

"We're a little disappointed in the results for The Judge, since we were hoping to do at least $15 million. I'm very pleased with the CinemaScore, though, and good word of mouth can put us back in the game. Our audience was notably older, with 50 percent over the age of 50, and 71 percent over the age of 35. Sometimes, the older audience kicks in the second weekend," said Warners president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman.

Addicted, a thriller targeting African-American audiences, also rolled out, although in fewer theaters. The film placed No. 7 with $7.6 million from 846 theaters, a great number for the $6 million film. Lionsgate and Codeblack partnered on Addicted, about a successful businesswoman (Sharon Leal) who embarks on a series of affairs.

African-American moviegoers made up 72 percent of the audience; females, 72 percent. Addicted will be playing in more than 1,000 theaters next weekend.

Among more limited offerings, documentary Meet the Mormons — chronicling the personal stories of six diverse Latter-day Saints and their families — did impressive business, placing No. 10 with an estimated $3 million from 317 theaters. That put it well ahead of Kill the Messenger, the Jeremy Renner action drama which opened in roughly the same number of locations. Kill the Messenger opened to an estimated $1 million weekend from 374 theaters.

In New York and Los Angeles, The Weinstein Co.'s specialty offering St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts, enjoyed a strong start, nabbing the top location average of the weekend. Produced by Chernin Entertainment, the comedy grossed $121,056 from four theaters for a theater average of $30,263.

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Whiplash, another high-profile specialty offering, grossed $143,503 from six theaters for a location average of $23,917 for Sony Pictures Classics. The critically acclaimed film was produced by Blumhouse and Right of Way.

The Metropolitan Opera's The Met: Live in HD kicked off its ninth season Saturday with a live transmission of Verdi’s Macbeth, which grossed $1.7 million from 900 screens in North America.

Overseas, Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy also made headlines as it debuted to $26.6 million in China, the top October opening of all time for a Hollywood title. The tentpole's global cume is now $687 million, eclipsing Man of Steel ($663 million).

Here are the estimated top 10 films for the weekend of Oct. 10-12 at the domestic box office:

Title, Weeks in Release/Theater Count, Studio, Weekend Total, Percentage Change, Cume

1. Gone Girl, 2/3,284, Fox/New Regency, $26.8 million, -29 percent, $78.3 million

2. Dracula Untold, 1/2,887, Warner Bros./New Line, $23.5 million

3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, 1/3088, Disney, $19.1 million

4. Annabelle, 2/3,215, Warner Bros./New Line, $16.4 million, -56%, $62.2 million

5. The Judge, 1/3,003, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow, $13.3 million

6. The Equalizer, 3/3,117, Sony/Village Roadshow, $9.7 million, -48%, $79.9 million

7. Addicted, 1/846, Lionsgate/Codeblack, $7.6 million

8. The Maze Runner, 4/3,072, Fox, $7.5 million, -36%, $83.8 million

9. The Boxtrolls, 3/3,270, Focus Features/Laika, $6.7 million, -44%, $41 million

10. Meet the Mormons, 1/317, Purdie, $3 million

Twitter: @PamelaDayM

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