NEW YORK — The spirits moved "Ouija" to No. 1 at the box office, with the board-game adaption leading the weekend with a $20 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The horror movie release, timed to Halloween, attracted more moviegoers at the North America box office than the violent Keanu Reeves thriller "John Wick." The R-rated hit-man revenge tale from Lionsgate opened with $14.2 million in second place.
Last week's top film, the Brad Pitt World War II action film "Fury," slid to third with $13 million. In two weeks, the Sony Pictures release has made $46.1 million.
Board-game adaptions such as "Ouija" have had a checkered history at the box office, with the big-budget "Battleship" — the last Hasbro game turned into a movie — famously flopping in 2012. But "Ouija," made by Blumhouse Productions and released by Universal Pictures, was made for just $5 million, and scared up moviegoers with a micro-budget summoning of brand-name occult.
Universal also could claim the top spot in the world's other top market, China, where the Scarlett Johansson sci-fi film "Lucy" opened with $19 million. Since opening in July, "Lucy" has made $434 million worldwide, proving the global appeal of Johansson.
Two Fox releases rounded out the domestic top five. David Fincher's marital noir "Gone Girl," starring Ben Affleck, made $11.1 million in its fourth week, bringing its cumulative total to $124 million. It will soon pass Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" ($127.5 million) to mark the director's top box office hit.
In its second week of release, the animated fantasy "The Book of Life" earned $9.8 million.
As Hollywood's awards season begins to heat up, limited-release titles also made noise at the box office. Easily leading all films in per-screen average were Alejandro Inarritu's black comedy "Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)," starring Michael Keaton, and the Edward Snowden documentary "Citizenfour."
Laura Poitras' "Citizenfour" drew a $25,000 average opening in five theaters for the Weinstein Co.'s Radius unit. Expanding to 50 theaters in its second week, Fox Searchlight's "Birdman" took in an average of almost $29,000 per screen.
Next weekend's top film is essentially already decided. Christopher Nolan's space travel thriller "Interstellar," one of the year's most anticipated releases, opens in select theaters Wednesday and then wide on Friday. Nolan, an ardent advocate for film, is releasing the movie first in about 240 theaters that still project 35mm or 70mm, rather than digital.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Ouija," $20 million ($1.3 million international).
2. "John Wick," $14.2 million.
3. "Fury," $13 million ($11.2 million international).
4. "Gone Girl," $11.1 million ($18.4 million international).
5. "The Book of Life," $9.8 million ($7.8 million international).
6. "St. Vincent," $8.1 million.
7. "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," $7 million ($2.5 million international).
8. "The Best of Me," $4.7 million.
9. "The Judge," $4.3 million ($6.9 million international).
10. "Dracula Untold," $4.3 million ($14.7 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:
1. "Annabelle," $26.5
2. "Lucy," $19 million.
3. "Gone Girl," $18.4 million.
4. "Dracula Untold," $14.7 million.
5. "The Maze Runner," $12.6 million.
6. "Fury," $11.2 million.
7. "Hercules," $10.9 million.
8. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," $10.8 million.
9. "Guardians of the Galaxy," $10.3 million.
10. "The Book of Life," $7.8 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP.