Strong debuts for the David Fincher-directed mystery "Gone Girl" and horror spinoff "Annabelle" gave a needed boost to the box office, following the worst overall September domestic gross since 2008, according to Box Office Mojo.
The North American estimates for this weekend's box office have "Gone Girl" taking in $38 million domestically, while "Annabelle" was eerily hiding behind "Gone Girl," earning $37.2 million. But the race between both films was close, and Variety notes that once the final numbers are confirmed, it's possible "Annabelle" catches up to "Gone Girl." Regardless, the two films will finish as the 10th and 11th biggest openings in October.
20th Century Fox and New Regency's "Gone Girl's" box office haul is the highest grossing North American opening for director Fincher, passing "Panic Room's" $30 million debut. "Gone Girl" -- based on Gillian Flynn's best-seller about a missing wife and the media circus that ensues -- is likely the last time to see Ben Affleck onscreen before "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," and it was his best opening in over 10 years, behind "Daredevil," which picked up $40 million in its first week.
"Annabelle's" strong opening is impressive taking into account that the New Line-Warner Bros.-produced spinoff of horror film "The Conjuring" -- about a creepy murderous doll -- was made for $6.5 million and grossed almost the same as its predecessor in its opening week.
"The Equalizer," "The Boxtrolls" and "The Maze Runner" rounded out the top five box office showings of the weekend, while Nicolas Cage-starring "Left Behind" -- the film adaptation of the popular Christian post-apocalyptic book series -- finished at sixth place, picking up an estimated $6.85 million.