Ouija, the microbudget, board game-inspired horror pic, came out on top in its opening weekend with a strong (but expected) $20 million showing from 2,858 locations. Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves’ John Wick proved its own strength with a $14.15 million weekend, which doesn’t look all that impressive on its own but is almost double what tracking predicted for the bloody revenge thriller.
Critics may have hated Ouija (even audiences slapped it with a C CinemaScore), but it is a box office truth universally acknowledged that teens will turn out for horror films, no matter how poorly reviewed — especially when they open just days before Halloween. Audiences were a whopping 75 percent under 25, 61 percent female and ethnically mixed. (39 percent of audiences were Hispanic, 31 percent Caucasian, and 12 percent African American.) It also opened in five international territories to $1.3 million and will continue its rollout over the next few months. Ouija cost Blumhouse and Platinum Dunes under $5 million to produce, so no matter what sort of dramatic drop off Ouija might suffer in weekend two, it’s already another micro budget success for Universal and Blumhouse.
“We saw how this film worked with its target audience,” Universal’s President of Domestic Distribution Nikki Rocco told EW. “We watched the tracking for the last three weeks, and there is something to be said for making these microbudget films and making them really, really work. The PG-13 was so smart. It works. PG-13 works. And here are the results.”