Annabelle Creation scares off competition, Dunkirk holds steady

As the summer box office continues to look a fright, the horror movie Annabelle: Creation is on track to debut with an estimated $35 million gross in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, topping fellow newcomers The Nut Job 2 and The Glass Castle as well as holdovers including Dunkirk and The Dark Tower.

The fourth installment of Warner Bros. and New Line’s Conjuring franchise, Annabelle: Creation is poised for the lowest opening of the series, behind Annabelle’s $37.1 million, The Conjuring’s $41.9 million, and The Conjuring 2’s $40.4 million. Nevertheless, $35 million represents a strong start for a chiller that cost a modest $15 million to make.

Reviews have been mixed to positive for the film, which currently has a 68 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences gave it a CinemaScore of B. The story centers on a grieving dollmaker and his wife with a haunted past who welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home. David F. Sandberg directed, and the cast includes Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, and Stephanie Sigman.

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Warner Bros. Pictures

Holding steady in second place is Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk, which is set to take in an estimated $11.4 million over its fourth weekend in theaters. A rare bright spot during a sluggish summer, the Warner Bros. movie will thus cross the $150 million mark at the domestic box office, while tallying $210 million from foreign markets.

Rounding out the weekend’s top three is the Open Road animated sequel The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, with an estimated $8.9 million. Despite being good enough for third place, that figure is less than half of what the first Nut Job movie opened to — $19.4 million — on 500 fewer screens in 2014.

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Reviews have not been kind to the computer-animated comedy, which follows a group of animals trying to stop an egomaniacal mayor from bulldozing their home to make way for a shoddy amusement park. Audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore.

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Open Road Films

The weekend’s other newcomer, the Brie Larson drama The Glass Castle, will crack the top 10 with an estimated $4.9 million. Opening in 1,461 theaters, the Lionsgate film has a much smaller footprint than than many of its competitors; Annabelle: Creation, for example, is playing in 3,502 locations, and Nut Job 2 is playing in 4,003.

Based on gossip columnist Jeannette Walls’ 2005 memoir about her unconventional, poverty-stricken upbringing and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), The Glass Castle divided critics but garnered an A-minus CinemaScore, suggesting positive word of mouth.

Meanwhile last weekend’s winner, the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, will tumble to the No. 4 slot with an estimated $7.9 million. Notching a 59 percent decline, the Sony film continues the recent trend of steep second-week drops.

Check back for updates …

Per ComScore, overall box office is down 4.1 percent from the same frame from last year. Check out the Aug. 11-13 figures below.

1. Annabelle: Creation — $35 million
2. Dunkirk — $11.4 million
3. The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature — $8.9 million
4. The Dark Tower — $7.9 million
5. The Emoji Movie — $6.6 million
6. Girls Trip — $6.5 million
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming — $6.1 million
8. Kidnap — $ 5.2 million
9. The Glass Castle — $4.9 million
10. Atomic Blonde — $4.6 million

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