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Jake Gyllenhaal’s ‘Nightcrawler’ Creeping Past ‘Ouija’ at Box Office

Thriller heads for $13 million Halloween weekend as Nicole Kidman-Colin Firth’s ”Before I Go to Sleep“ and ”Saw“ re-release are DOA

“Ouija” was No. 1 at the Friday box office but “Nightcrawler,” featuring Jake Gyllenhaal as a creepy L.A. cameraman, is heading for the win at the Halloween weekend box office.

The R-rated thriller from Open Road Films took in $3.2 million in it first day of release and should finish the three days with a better-than-expected $13 million. Last weekend’s leader “Ouija” scared up $3.4 million Friday, but Universal’s teen-targeting horror movie is expected to lose some steam Saturday and Sunday and finish in the $11 million range. The well-reviewed “Nightcrawler” — it’s at 93 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes — should get a boost from word of mouth.

The are no wide releases this weekend from the major studios. They steered clear expecting business to be soft since the holiday fell on a Friday and audiences were sure to be distracted by Halloween, and they were right. “Ouija” and “Nightcrawler” brought in under $7 million combined, less than the $8.3 million that the micro-budgeted board game thriller opened with last Friday.

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Two other wide openers, British import “Before I Go to Sleep” and Lionsgate’s 10th anniversary re-release of the horror classic “Saw,” won’t make the top ten.

“Before I Go to Sleep,” the Nicole Kidman-Colin Firth drama distributed by Clarius Entertainment, took in just $575,000 and is on track for an anemic $2 million, less than half of projections that were low to begin with. “Saw” looks like it will come in with just over $1 million for the weekend, under the $2.2 million that a recent “Ghostbusters” re-release took in.

Brad Pitt‘s “Fury” was third Friday with nearly $2 million and heading for a $9 million third week, which will bring the domestic total for Sony’s World War II saga to $60 million.

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The Guillermo del Toro-produced animated film “The Book of Life” took in $1.1 million Friday and was seventh, but the kiddie crowd will give it a boost over the weekend and it should move up for Fox.

“Gone Girl” is now director David Fincher’s highest-grossing movie. The long-playing murder mystery starring Ben Affleck is pacing for a nearly $8 million fifth week, which will bring its domestic total to $135 million for Fox. Fincher’ previous best was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which took in $127 million in 2008.

Lionsgate’s “John Wick” brought in $1.8 million Friday and is headed for a solid second week of around $7.6 million, which would up its domestic total to $27 million.

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It was just ahead of the Weinstein Company’s “St. Vincent” on Friday. The Bill Murray-Melissa McCarthy comedy brought in $1.6 million and is pacing for a $7 million-plus fourth week that will raise its domestic total to $19 million.

“Birdman,” director Alejandro Inarritu’s dark comedy starring Michael Keaton as a fading superhero movie star, continued to impress on the specialty front. Fox Searchlight expanded its awards hopeful by 181 theaters and it brought in $506,000 from 231 locations for a $10,400 per screen average, better than any film in release.