After hitting a home run with The Social Network back in 2010 and following on with the remarkably well-adapted Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, director David Fincher is still on form with his latest release.
Gone Girl (adapted from the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name) is a delightfully dark romp which keeps you guessing all the way through as it spins around one central question: did Nick kill his wife?
Nick, in this case, is played by Ben Affleck which is significant given that it’s likely to be his last feature film appearance before he dons the cape and cowl for 2015’s Batman vs. Superman, a casting choice which has garnered significant ire and doubt. If nothing else, Affleck’s performance as the disheveled and slightly unhinged Nick Dunne should at least assuage those on the fence that he’s still got some serious acting chops when given the kind of excellent direction which Fincher provides.
In addition, Trent Reznor provided the soundtrack so that’s the cherry on the cinematography cake.
So, all in all Gone Girl is an excellent book adaptation and one which suspense fans will relish. It’s also sitting pretty at 87% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing.
But is that success mirrored in the box office figures?
Yes. Resoundingly so.
Missouri and LA Production
Fincher opted for a joint Missouri and LA production for Gone Girl, which could be deemed as a risky move. Although Hollywood is still a hotbed of activity and home to many film companies and LA production schools, the costs are higher and we are in an era in which the industry is increasingly moving out of Hollywood (and even the US) for that reason. In addition, with self-distribution only gaining more traction, some worry that the day of box office blockbusters are on the wane.
The budget did end up running to $61 million, which is a fair amount for a flick which isn’t overly VFX-laden.
But if investors were worried before the release, they surely must be rubbing their hands together now: critics predicted a $100 million dollar hit. What they didn’t predict is that it’d totally smash this and land at over $160 million in box office takings so far.
A few key statistics that have Hollywood and LA production teams jumping for joy:
- Gone Girl took $13.1m on its opening day
- $37.5m in total revenue from the opening weekend
- It competed extremely closely with the supernatural horror Annabelle ($37.1m), which, despite being a terrible movie, is of a genre which typically performs very well this time of year
- Gone Girl‘s opening revenue beat Fincher’s previous debut record for Panic Room, which took in $30m
- It’s the third best opening weekend for Ben Affleck, topped only by Pearl Harbor (at $59.1m) and Daredevil ($40.3m)
- Overall, it’s the tenth biggest October opening on record
All said and done, it’s a big achievement for all parties involved on the movie and it may just be a sign that things are on the up for Hollywood and LA production in general.
Why Gone Girl‘s Takings Are Good News for Hollywood
Last summer, domestic takings were a good 15% higher (read: a lot) than they have been in 2014. This is despite the great commercial performance by huge summer blockbusters like Edge of Tomorrow, which, while different in substance to Gone Girl, was a similarly good movie and reached the same level of acclaim from the critics.
This past weekend appears to have reversed this year-long slump, however. With Gone Girl, Annabelle, Dracula Untold and Alexander the Terrible all pulling in big numbers, last weekend’s takings stand at $149,000,000. This is a whopping 28% better than the same weekend last year, a number so huge that it can’t be written off as just a blip in the figures.
Whether this positive upswing in box office takings is a sign of long-term resurrection for LA and Hollywood production remains to be seen, but it certainly isn’t anything other than a good start.