Despite a frightfully dry August at the box office, Warner Bros. managed to come out on top with two films leading the weekend numbers.
Horror flick “Annabelle: Creation,” which cost about $15 million, came in above expectations, bringing in an estimated $35 million in its first weekend in the U.S. and Canada, above studio expectations of $25 million to $30 million and analysts’ expectations of $25 million.
“We’re absolutely thrilled and elated that audiences really embraced Annabelle,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s distribution chief. “She is just one horrible doll.”
Directed by David F. Sandberg, the film, about a possessed doll that terrorizes families, is a prequel to 2014’s “Annabelle” — which opened to $37.1 million and was itself a prequel to 2013’s “The Conjuring,” directed by James Wan and based loosely on the stories of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. With another strong opening and improved reviews (the film received a 68% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes and a B-rating on CinemaScore), audiences can expect more spinoffs from this franchise in the near future.
“You’re gonna see more,” Goldstein said. “And you’ll have many more opportunities to be frightened.”
Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” now in its fourth week of release, is maintaining the No. 2 spot on the box office charts after being bumped down from first with last week’s release of “The Dark Tower.” The World War II drama brought in $11.4 million this week, for a cumulative total of $153.7 million domestically. Its 33% decline from last weekend was among the smallest in the top 10.
Newcomer “The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature” cracked the top three, bringing in $8.9 million in its first weekend, under analysts’ expectations of $12 million to $15 million. Open Road’s PG-rated animated comedy is a follow-up to the 2014 success featuring chattering squirrels. The $40-million sequel features the voices of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Maya Rudolph.
The first “Nut Job” opened with $19 million on its way to $64 million domestically, making it Open Road’s highest-grossing film. Open Road, launched in 2011 by theater chains Regal Entertainment and AMC Entertainment, recently was acquired by Tang Media Partners, a Los Angeles-based company with backers including China’s Tencent Holdings.
While Warner Bros. is occupying the top two spots this week, Sony is maintaining the fourth and fifth spots with “The Dark Tower” and “The Emoji Movie,” respectively.
“The Dark Tower” was bumped to fourth place in its second week, bringing in $7.8 million for a cumulative total of $34.3 million in the U.S. and Canada. The film experienced a 59% decline from last weekend, the highest among the films in the top 10. The picture, based on an eight-part Stephen King fantasy series, stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.
Computer-generated comedy “The Emoji Movie,” brought in $6.6 million for a cumulative total of $63.6 million. The film, about an app-filled world where emojis wait to be used in humans’ text messages, is now in its third week.
Lionsgate’s drama “The Glass Castle” brought in $4.9 million in its first weekend in theaters, debuting at No. 9 on the box office charts. Based on the New York Times bestseller by Jeannette Walls, the film’s ensemble cast includes Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts and Max Greenfield. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (who directed Larson in 2013’s indie “Short Term 12”), the film earned a so-so 50% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Next week’s wide releases are Lionsgate’s action-comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and “Logan Lucky,” Bleecker Street’s heist comedy directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig. IFC’s Sundance film festival award-winner “Crown Heights” starring Lakeith Stanfield opens in limited release.
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