Box-Office Preview: Halloween's Only New Horror Offering Is 10 Years Old

Courtesy of Open Road Films

With the holiday falling on a Friday, no Hollywood studio wanted to launch a big film this weekend

If moviegoers are looking to celebrate Halloween at the multiplex, they'll have to take a trip down memory lane. The holiday's only new horror offering is a 10-year old film: Saw.

Traffic at the box office is expected to fall off dramatically on Friday because of Halloween, and that's why no Hollywood studio is launching a new film. Instead, the marquee will belong to a cluster of indie titles.

Among them is Jake Gyllenhaal's indie crime-thriller Nightcrawler, which hopes to scare off horror holdover Ouija and win the sleepy Halloween box-office race with a debut in the $9 million to $10 million range.

Produced and financed by Bold Films, the critically acclaimed movie marks the feature directorial debut of Dan Gilroy and stars Gyllenhaal as a hungry freelance journalist who looks to further his career by exposing L.A.'s underground crime scene.

The film made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last month and cost $8.5 million to make, and also stars Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton. Open Road Films goes out with Nightcrawler in roughly 2,800 theaters.

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Universal's microbudgeted Ouija topped the box-office chart last weekend with a $19.8 million debut, but since horror titles tend to see steep declines, it may hover around $8 million in its second weekend. With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, Ouija decided to debut a week earlier, since moviegoing will tumble on the holiday itself.

British sci-fi thriller Before I Go to Sleep, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, also opens nationwide, but may only open in the same range as Saw, a dismal start considering the film's star power. 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.

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After Ouija, other holdovers sure to stay high up on the chart include Keanu Reeves' John Wick, Brad Pitt's World War II pic Fury and David Fincher's Gone Girl.

Gone Girl has continued 20th Century Fox's winning streak at the North American box office this year. Total domestic revenue for the studio has just crossed a record $1.52 billion, besting the previous record of $1.48 billion that was set in 2010. And by the weekend, Gone Girl will have become Fincher's top-grossing film in North America, not accounting for inflation, eclipsing the $127.5 million earned by The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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New entries at the specialty box office include Daniel Radcliffe's quirky horror film Horns and documentary Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show.