'Annabelle' scares up US$35M, jolting sleepy box office
This photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows the Annabelle doll in a scene from New Line Cinema's supernatural thriller, "Annabelle," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:58PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 13, 2017 2:48PM EDT
NEW YORK -- The "Conjuring" spinoff "Annabelle: Creation" scared up an estimated US$35 million in North American theatres over the weekend, making it easily the top film and giving the lagging August box office a shot in the arm.
The opening came close to matching the film's predecessor, "Annabelle," which opened with US$37.1 million in October 2014. Warner Bros. could celebrate not only the month's biggest debut but also having the week's top two films. Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" followed in second with US$11.4 million in its fourth weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Even amid an especially weak August, the well-reviewed horror sequel and modestly budgeted "Annabelle: Creation" found eager audiences.
"That we were able to do US$35 million in what is a very sluggish marketplace was very impressive," said Jeffrey Goldstein, Warner Bros.' distribution chief. "We all know that moviegoing begets moviegoing and right now it's a dip in the content overall."
The film, the third to spiral out of 2013's "The Conjuring," cost only about US$15 million to make. More sequels and spinoffs are being developed in what has become for Warner Bros. a steadily profitable horror franchise bent on old-school frights. The "Annabelle" offshoot centres on a possessed doll.
Last week's top film, the poorly received Stephen King adaptation "The Dark Tower," slid dramatically. The Sony Pictures release, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, toppled nearly 60 per cent on its second weekend with an estimated US$7.9 million.
The week's other new entry, the Open Road animated release "Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature," edged just above "The Dark Tower" with US$8.9 million. That was well below the 2014 debut of the original, "The Nut Job," which opened with US$19.4 million.
But the solid returns for "Annabelle: Creation" did little to counter the box-office slide. The box office was down 31.6 per cent from the same weekend last year, when "Suicide Squad" was No. 1 despite brutal reviews and Seth Rogen's "Sausage Party" opened. The summer altogether is down 12.4 per cent from last year, according to comScore.
"This is a great weekend to be a really scary doll and Warner Bros., but for everyone else, it's just plain scary," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "It proves the horror genre is alive and well."
Some of July's bright spots, however, have continued into August. The summer's top comedy, "Girls Trip," will soon surpass $100 million domestically. The movie, starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, took in US$6.5 million in its fourth week to bring its cumulative total to US$97.2 million. It may end up doubling the gross of its closest summer comedy competition: the starrier and pricey "Baywatch" (US$58.1 million in its entire run).
In limited release, the A24 crime thriller "Good Time," starring Robert Pattinson, debuted with a robust $34,000 per-screen average on four screens. That was bettered, though, by the US$47,000 screen-average of Neon's "Ingrid Goes West," with Aubrey Plaza, on three screens. Both films expand in coming weeks.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Annabelle: Creation," US$35 million.
2. "Dunkirk," US$11.4 million.
3. "Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature," US$8.9 million.
4. "The Dark Tower," US$7.9 million.
5. "The Emoji Movie," US$6.6 million.
6. "Girls Trip," US$6.5 million.
7. "Spider-Man: Homecoming," US$6.1 million.
8. "Kidnap," US$5.2 million.
9. "Glass Castle," US$4.9 million.
10. "Atomic Blonde," US$4.6 million.