“Gone Girl” was expected to stay strong, but the dark murder mystery kept the box office in a vice grip with its $27 million second week.
It was particularly impressive as the R-rated thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck had to hold off three new films, including a solid debut by Universal’s reboot “Dracula Untold.”
“Gone Girl” fell off just 29 percent from its breakout $37 million opening last week — a 50 percent drop-off is considered good — and has now taken in nearly $80 million domestically for Fox and New Regency. With another $60 million from overseas, it’s taken in more than $140 million in 10 days on a $60 million production budget.
The “Gone Girl” hyper-hold apparently translates overseas. Its second-week drops were even smaller in several foreign markets. This weekend it took in $5 million from the U.K. (down just 15 percent), $3.8 million from Australia (a 12 percent drop) and $2.1 million from Germany (a 19 percent falloff).
Here are some factors behind its staying power.
America’s Kept a Secret
Twitter bites, blog rants and think pieces on the plot twists, dark turns and takes on marriage in the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller continue to proliferate. But overall, moviegoers have done a pretty good job of not spoiling it for others. The media not so much, but even they’ve been relatively restrained. Google “‘Gone Girl’ spoilers” and you’ll be surprised at how little you see.
“We’ll Go After the Crowds Thin Out”
Fox’s second-weekend exit polls showed almost no variance from the first — it’s still playing more than 60 percent female and around 75 percent over the age of 25. Mature moviegoers really do avoid first night crowds, and a lot of them plainly waited a week. Some are waiting for this weekend as well, which could complicate things for Brad Pitt‘s R-rated war saga “Fury,” which opens Friday.
The Tyler Perry Factor?
The only significant demographic shift for “Gone Girl” from the first to second week was a spike in African American attendance, from 12 percent to 18 percent. It could just be a blip, but there’s little doubt that the strong cast is helping. Fox marketers built early buzz by mining the significant social media followings of Perry and co-star Neil Patrick Harris, and they’re still a draw.
Ben Affleck and David Fincher Matter
The director’s fan base is large and growing and “Gone Girl” is on its way to surpassing “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” ($127 million domestically) as his highest-grossing movie ever. Affleck, heading for his very high profile turn in “Batman v. Superman,” has been ubiquitous and at times outlandish in the media. He chastised Bill Maher and another guest on the host’s HBO talk show last week for their characterizations of Islam. Making fans? Probably not. Generating love-to-hate-him buzz? Absolutely.
Downey and Duvall Didn’t
“The Judge,” the R-rated Warner Bros. courtroom drama targeted the same older demographic that “Gone Girl” did, with two well-liked stars. But the reviews were just so-so, and it opened with just $13 million — roughly half of the dark thriller’s second-weekend haul.