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Box office: 'Annabelle' spooks 'Gone Girl' Thursday night

Box office: 'Annabelle' spooks 'Gone Girl' Thursday night
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in David Fincher's "Gone Girl." (Merrick Morton / AP)

The low-budget horror flick "Annabelle" got an early jump at the box-office Thursday night in what should be a tight race this weekend.

"Annabelle," New Line Cinema's $6.5-million R-rated spinoff from last year's smash "The Conjuring," grossed a studio-estimated $2.1 million in ticket sales from Thursday night pre-shows.

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It's going up against "Gone Girl," the thriller based on the best-selling Gillian Flynn novel, which took in $1.25 million in late-night showings. Both movies are expected to post weekend numbers of around $25 million.

That "Annabelle," named for the spooky doll from its predecessor, is ahead in early counts shouldn't be surprising.

The younger horror crowd has a tendency to flock to new releases early on, and there is likely plenty of pent up anticipation due to the popularity of "The Conjuring." That film took in $3.3 million in its Thursday night debut on its way to a $41.5-million weekend.

"Gone Girl" will likely skew older than "Annabelle," and strong reviews from critics bode well for its long-term box-office performance. Starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, it follows a man accused of killing his wife and reveals the secrets of their twisted marriage.

The R-rated film, co-produced by 20th Century Fox and New Regency, cost $61 million to make.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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