Hitting the box office charts hard is American mystery thriller Gone Girl, which delivered the biggest opening weekend since The Inbetweeners 2 back in August, debuting with £4,109,628. Adapted by Gillian Flynn, who wrote the 2012 novel of the same name, it was directed by David Fincher, whose previous openers include The Social Network with £2.49m. The film has just missed the £4.32m debut of Fincher’s last film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, although that figure was inflated by four days of previews as opposed to Gone Girl’s two.
It stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Carrie Coon and the plot unfolds after a man (Affleck) sees the spotlight turned on him when his wife’s (Pike) disappearance becomes the focus of an intense media circus and it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.
The film examines dishonesty, the media, the economy’s effects on marriage, and media appearances. The film opened the 52nd New York Film Festival, receiving high profile press coverage and early positive reviews. Jason Kosner of UK Screen states, “When a story is this well told, it seems a bit churlish to begrudge the film-makers another few minutes of self-indulgence and the odd moment of cinematic shorthand can be excused. Gone Girl is one of those rare films that’s likely to please audiences, critics and awards bodies equally.”
American dark action fantasy Dracula Untold came up trumps in second place after making £1,713,283 despite a lack of strong marketable names and little seen by critics. It is, however, a long way behind the debut of Van Helsing in May 2004 (£5.43m), which was a much-hyped creature feature and featured A-lister Hugh Jackman.
The film stars Luke Evans, who portrays the title character, with Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper and Samantha Barks in supporting roles. It steers away from the focus on Irish novelist Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, the film creates an origin story for its title character, Count Dracula, by portraying the story of Vlad the Impaler, who uses dark powers to protect his family and kingdom.
The release date was changed four times to finally October 10, 2014, to give the film three weeks of play before Halloween.
Dracula Untold received a mixture of reviews from critics, with most praising Luke Evans’ performance, the storyline and the visuals, but criticising Dracula’s characterisation and pointing out many plot holes. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes stated, “Neither awful enough to suck nor sharp enough to bite, Dracula Untold misses the point of its iconic character’s deathless appeal.”
The film also stars Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo and is based on the television series of same name.
The plot follows a man (Washington), who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.
The Boxtrolls hits fourth on its fourth weekend on release with £983,015 taking it’s gross to £6,093,123, which compares with lifetime totals of other stop motion animations such as £7.5m for Coraline and £6.3m for ParaNorman.
Falling to fifth is British comedy What We Did on Our Holiday which brought in £728,228 last weekend, to make a gross of £2,083,907 from cinema ticket sales in the UK so far. It was written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin who created BBC sitcom Outnumbered, and the success led to the pair getting to make the film which features similar improvisational techniques and also features two London parents and their three young children.
New entry at sixth place comes from Hindi action thriller Bang Bang which debuted with £602,193. It’s the biggest opening for a Bollywood film since Dhoom 3 (£885,000) last December and is an official remake of the Hollywood film Knight and Day and features Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles performed by Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz respectively in the original. In India, Bang Bang! received positive to mixed reviews from critics praising its action sequences and performances while it was criticised by some for its story and screenplay. A review from India Times stated, “It has some ‘must-haves’ of a pot-boiler, but misses the real thing – a solid story.”
New in seventh place is American family drama Dolphin Tale 2, written and directed by Charles Martin Smith and a sequel to his 2011 film Dolphin Tale. The sequel made £536,766 on its opening weekend. Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Kris Kristofferson, Morgan Freeman, Juliana Harkavy, Austin Stowell and Austin Highsmith all reprise their roles from the first film while Lee Karlinsky, Julia Jordan, and Bethany Hamilton join the cast. The film tells the story of another dolphin, taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, named ‘Hope’. The film was received generally positively with Mark Kermode of The Observer stating, “As before, there are mirrored tribulations above and below the water line, with life lessons learned en route. It doesn’t have the focus or splash of the original, but Charles Martin Smith’s sequel winningly wears its heart on its sleeve`.”
Third week on release and down to eighth place for Liam Neeson’s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones as it made just £310,261. The film, which is based on a novel of the same name by Lawrence Block, follows private investigator Matthew Scudder (Neeson) who is hired by a drug kingpin (Dan Stevens) to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. A Walk Among the Tombstones has made a gross of £3,364,093 in the UK to date.
Guardians of the Galaxy celebrates its tenth week on the charts with £277,419 bringing it to ninth place, and amassing £28,168,896 from its UK run.
Rounding off the top ten is British film Pride which brought in £248,654 and on its fourth week on release has totalled £3,265,317.
The good news of the box office figures looking up, is set to continue. This weekend, we will see the release of young adult adaptation The Maze Runner, already a significant hit in the US and elsewhere, American supernatural horror Annabelle, both a prequel and spin off of The Conjuring, and presented as event cinema, One Direction: Where We Are – The Concert Film. Also we have Hugh Grant starring in romantic comedy The Rewrite, Dakota Fanning in period drama Effie Gray, Susan Sarandon in crime thriller The Calling and Jack O’Connell in the much-buzzed Belfast-set ’71.