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Gone Girl takes box office by storm

Annabelle couldn't scare off Gone Girl at the weekend box office.

The Fox thriller starring Ben Affleck as a man whose wife goes missing overcame the Warner Bros possessed-doll horror movie with a 38 million dollar (£23.7 million) debut in the US, according to studio estimates.

Both films join the recently released The Maze Runner and The Equalizer in crossing the 30 million dollar mark this autumn, a typically low-earning season at the box office.

"It was virtually a photo finish," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. "These two movies couldn't be more different. It shows how if the marketplace presents a diversity of product, audiences will come out. It's the third and fourth 30 million dollar debut of the past two weeks. It's been a great post-summer run."

Gone Girl is based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn and was directed by The Social Network and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button filmmaker David Fincher. The film earned an additional 24.6 million dollars (£15.4 million) internationally.

"I think David Fincher made a very provocative, thought-provoking film," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for Fox. "I think there was this crescendo of publicity and social-media chatter that made Gone Girl into a zeitgeist-y movie that you have to see to be part of the conversation."

Annabelle debuted closely behind Gone Girl with 37.2 million dollars (£23.2 million). The movie stars Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis as new parents who bring the creepy porcelain plaything seen in last year's haunted house horror The Conjuring into their home.

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Sony's The Equalizer, last week's top performer, came in third place in its second weekend with 19 million dollars (£11.8 million), bringing its total domestic haul to 64.5 million (£40.3 million). The revenge thriller starring Denzel Washington reunites him with director Antoine Fuqua, who helmed 2001's Training Day, the film that earned Denzel an Oscar for best actor.

Left Behind, the weekend's other big debut, opened in sixth place with 6.8 million dollars (£4.2 million). The Rapture-set film starring Nicolas Cage is based on the novel of the same name.

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