Annabelle scares up $35m stunning a sleepy box office

2017-08-14 16:00

New York — The Conjuring spinoff Annabelle: Creation scared up an estimated $35m 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 $37.1m 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 $11.4m in its fourth weekend, according to studio estimates on 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 $35m 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 $15m 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 percent on its second weekend with an estimated $7.9m.

The week's other new entry, the Open Road animated release Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, edged just above The Dark Tower with $8.9m. That was well below the 2014 debut of the original, The Nut Job, which opened with $19.4m.


But the solid returns for Annabelle: Creation did little to counter the box-office slide. The box office was down 31.6 percent 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 percent 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 $100m domestically. The movie, starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah, took in $6.5m in its fourth week to bring its cumulative total to $97.2m. It may end up doubling the gross of its closest summer comedy competition: The starrier and pricey Baywatch ($58.1m in its entire run).

In limited release, the A24 crime thriller Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson, debuted with a robust $34k per-screen average on four screens. That was bettered, though, by the $47k screen-average of Neon's Ingrid Goes West, with Aubrey Plaza, on three screens. Both films expand in coming weeks.

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