The box office is looking at a grim Halloween weekend.
The last time Halloween fell on a Friday was in 2008, when total box-office receipts were down 37% compared with the same weekend in 2007.
This weekend will also likely be slow, as many moviegoers may skip theaters to get their horror (and candy) fixes elsewhere.
“Nightcrawler,” which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, is expected to take the No. 1 spot, pushing last week’s winner “Ouija” to No. 2, according to people who have seen pre-release audience surveys.
The film, which is distributed by Open Road Films and cost $8.5 million to make, could pull in as much as $12 million this weekend.
The crime thriller follows Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal), a self-taught man who finds work as a crime-scene news videographer in Los Angeles.
It was produced and financed by Bold Films and marks the directing debut for Dan Gilroy, who also wrote the screenplay.
Since the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in early September, critics have lauded Gyllenhaal’s performance as well as the film’s look at nightlife in L.A.
As of Thursday, the film posted a “fresh” rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Meanwhile, “Ouija” will likely drop to second in its sophomore weekend. Because its core audience is younger than 21, the film will likely not see as big of a turnout on “Halloweekend.”
The Universal Pictures PG-13 film, which cost just $5 million to make, could add $10 million to its $23-million gross.
Blumhouse Productions and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes produced the film, which is based on the Hasbro game. The film, which opened to $20 million, follows a group of friends who look to the board after one of their friends is killed in an accident.
“Before I Go to Sleep” will likely round out the top three with a $5-million opening.
The Clarius Entertainment distributed film is a British sci-fi thriller that stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, based on the bestselling novel by S.J. Watson.
Kidman plays a woman who, after an accident, wakes up every day with the same memory. As truths about her life emerge, she begins questioning everything she thinks she knows including her husband (Firth) and doctor.
For those looking for a horror movie throwback, Lionsgate is re-releasing “Saw” for one week to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary.
The James Wan-directed film follows two men who wake up in the lair of a demented serial killer named Jigsaw and are forced to navigate a series of elaborate traps that require them to do the unthinkable to survive.
It could pull in between $2 million to $3 million, falling just behind “Before I Go to Sleep.”
David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” and animated film “The Book of Life” will likely stay in the top five.
Daniel Radcliffe’s “Horns” will premiere in limited release.
Tracking suggests the box office will bounce back from a slower weekend with the launch of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic “Interstellar” and Walt Disney Co.’s animated film “Big Hero 6.” Both films, which open next week, are looking at roughly $60-million premieres.
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