Nightcrawler, Ouija top US box office

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal's crime thriller Nightcrawler and the board-game adaptation Ouija have tied for first place at the US box office with 10.9 million dollars (£6.8 million) each over the Halloween weekend.

The two could not be split according to film distributors, although when final figures are announced, one film will likely slightly edge out the other.

For Open Road's low-budget Los Angeles noir Nightcrawler, it was a strong debut considering its creepy, unconventional protagonist. Gyllenhaal plays an ambulance-chasing man who shoots gory footage for the local news.

The independent, R-rated film was able to capitalise on a weekend the studios were frightened away from. With Halloween falling on a Friday, trick-or-treating affected one of the most lucrative movie-going nights of the week. Grosses were down 40 per cent from the same weekend a year ago, according to box-office tracker Rentrak.

"Most studios know when Halloween falls on a Friday, usually they're not good days," said Universal's distribution head, Nikki Rocco. "People party. It's a holiday, and it's not a moviegoing holiday."