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," dropped 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 "Oujia," 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 5. 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 "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 Company'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.