Halloween came early this year, as two horror movies about domestic life opened strongly and helped to make the past three days the biggest weekend in October box-office history. Granted, the big winner, Gone Girl, isn’t technically a horror movie. But for the unhappily married—and for those considering making the plunge—David Fincher’s adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestseller probably proved much scarier than the usual paranormal activity. Propelled by strong reviews and a crippling, nationwide fear of spending a lifetime with another person you don’t really know (Because who can know anyone?), the film made a cool $38 million out the gate. Perhaps Fox should have set up one of those night-vision cameras at screenings to capture the audience’s horrified reaction to Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike arguing about their prenup.
Landing in a very close second place was another film about a troubled married couple, though their troubles have less to do with the deepest, darkest mysteries of the human heart than creepy dolls doing creepy shit. Annabelle, a spinoff of last summer’s horror smash The Conjuring, scared up $37.2 million. That’s marginally less than what its predecessor debuted to, though the much cheaper price tag—$5 million, as opposed to $20 million—makes Annabelle an instant hit. As of this writing, James Wan is almost certainly working on a spinoff of the spinoff, this one focusing on the bag of popcorn that gets malevolently overcooked. It will make $170 million.
A trio of September success stories filled out the rest of the top five, as The Equalizer ($19 million), The Boxtrolls ($12.4 million), and The Maze Runner ($12 million) managed to avoid dramatic plummets in patronage. Right below them, the uproariously awful Left Behind claimed $6.8 million from the faithful—a pretty terrible tally for star Nicolas Cage, but a solid take for an evangelical disaster film that looks like it was shot for Syfy. It wasn’t all good news, however: Both The Good Lie and Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children suffered weak limited openings, with the former earning less than a million on 461 screens and the latter debuting to just $48,000 on 14 screens. That’s scary awful.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.