Ben Affleck's 'Gone Girl' snatches U.S. box office title

Sun Oct 5, 2014 2:06pm EDT
 
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By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Movie thriller "Gone Girl," starring Ben Affleck as a man suspected of causing his wife's disappearance, overcame a demonic doll named "Annabelle" to win a tight weekend race at U.S. and Canadian movie box offices.

"Gone Girl" pulled in $38 million over its first three days in domestic theaters, according to estimates released Sunday by tracking firm Rentrak. Horror flick "Annabelle" ranked close behind with $37.2 million.

Last weekend's No. 1 film, thriller "The Equalizer" starring Denzel Washington, dropped to third. The movie collected $19 million over the weekend and brought its cumulative domestic sales to $64.5 million.

"Gone Girl," based on a best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, earned strong reviews from critics, with an 87 percent positive rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.

Affleck stars as a writer who is caught in a media circus when his wife goes missing and the police suspect he is responsible. Rosamund Pike plays his wife.

"There was a confluence of events that created an urgency to see this thought-provoking film," said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, the unit of 21st Century Fox that released the $61 million film.

"This is a water cooler movie and I think it will play and play and play," said Aronson, adding that it marked "The Social Network" director David Fincher's biggest-ever opening and that the studio had expected an opening of about $25 million.

Aronson said the 60 percent female, 40 percent male audience had skewed a bit more male than he had expected, saying "It's becoming a bit of a date movie."   Continued...

 
Actor Ben Affleck attends the 52nd New York Film Festival opening night gala presentation of the movie "Gone Girl" at Alice Tully Hall in New York September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz