Final Halloween Box Office: 'Ouija' Edges Out 'Nightcrawler'

Matt Kennedy

Horror was the drug of choice for holiday moviegoers

Folks, we have a winner.

After a tie was declared Sunday, final Monday numbers show Universal's horror holdover Ouija narrowly beating Jake Gyllenhaal's critically acclaimed indie crime-thriller Nightcrawler for the Halloween box office crown.

Ouija grossed $10.7 million from 2,899 theaters, compared to $10.4 million for Nightcrawler, which is playing 2,766 locations and stars Gyllenhaal as an ambitious, and troubled, freelance journalist taking on L.A.'s underground crime scene.

On Sunday, Universal put Ouija's estimated earnings at $10.9 million. Open Road Films quickly followed suit with an estimated $10.9 million for Nightcrawler, even though most rivals had Ouija slightly ahead (Sunday estimates often vary from final figures).

Read more Jake Gyllenhaal on Producing, 'Nightcrawler' Cuts and How "Acting Is Incredibly Selfish"

But it wasn't a great weekend overall, due to Halloween falling on a Friday for the first time in six years. Friday revenue was down a whopping 40 percent over 2013, while the weekend was down roughly 25 percent. Hollywood studios considered the weekend such a wash that they didn't release a single new film, leaving the marquee free for indie offerings — and the rerelease of Saw, which earned a dismal $660,000.

Still, Ouija, clearly benefiting from the spooky holiday, fell only 46 percent from its opening weekend, far than most horror films. That puts the 10-day domestic total at $34.8 million for Universal, Jason Blum's Blumhouse and Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes. Overseas, the film grossed another $5.7 million internationally from 19 territories, including a No. 1 finish in the U.K. with $2.2 million, for an early foreign total of $7.7 million.

Nightcrawler is one of the best-reviewed movies of the year, although audiences gave it a B- CinemaScore. Males dominated (56 percent), while 66 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 25. Directed by Dan Gilory in his feature debut, the $8.5 million film was produced and financed by Bold Films, and also stars Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton.

Halloween or no Halloween, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth's British sci-fi thriller Before I Go to Sleep bombed at the U.S. box office for distributor Clarius Entertainment, earning an estimated $1.8 million from 1,935 theaters. That makes it the worst wide opening of Kidman's and Firth's respective careers, not accounting for inflation. Kidman's previous lowest was Birth ($2.4 million) in 2002, while Firth's was The Last Legion ($2.7 million) in 2007.

Scott Free, Millennium and StudioCanal partnered on Before I Go to Sleep, directed by Rowan Joffe and distributed by Clarius Entertainment in the U.S. Based on the book by S. J. Watson, the film stars Kidman as a woman who wakes up every day with no memory of her life since she was in her early 20s.

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