Weekend Box Office: 'Annabelle: Creation' Terrifying Competition With $36M-Plus Debut
The two other new nationwide offerings — 'The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature' and 'The Glass Castle' — struggle, while 'Dark Tower' and 'Detroit' fall steeply in their sophomore outings.
Largely scaring off sequel fatigue, Warner Bros./New Line's Annabelle: Creation topped Friday's box-office chart with $15 million from 3,502 theaters for a projected domestic debut of $36 million-plus.
The origin film, directed by David F. Sandberg, is the fourth installment in the studio's successful Conjuring horror franchise and looks to open on par with 2014's Annabelle ($37.1 million). Hollywood — and theater owners — are in need of some good news amid an overall summer decline.
Annabelle ultimately earned $256.9 million worldwide. Last summer, Conjuring 2 opened to $40.4 million on its way to grossing $320.3 million globally.
The latest installment follows a doll maker and his wife who, after losing their little girl, welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home. But they soon become the target of the doll maker's possessed creation, Annabelle.
Annabelle: Creation is also impressing overseas, where it boasts a Wednesday-Friday gross of $17.7 million from 39 markets, including a strong launch in South Korea.
Elsewhere in North America, Open Road's animated sequel The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is opening well behind the first film, which debuted to $19.4 million in January 2014. Nut Job 2 took in an estimated $3 million Friday from 4,003 theaters for a projected $9 million-$10 million weekend. That could mean a third-place finish behind Annabelle and Dunkirk, which could gross close to $11 million for a domestic total north of $150 million through Sunday.
Nut Job 2 rolls out in theaters just days after Tang Media announced it is acquiring Open Road from AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment. The sequel, directed by Cal Brunker, follows a group of animals trying to stop their serene park from being turned into an amusement venture. The voice cast features Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan and Katherine Heigl.
Lionsgate's adaptation The Glass Castle is opening in far fewer theaters, or 1,461 locations. The drama is projected to place No. 8 with $5 million-$6 million after earning roughly $2 million on Friday.
Based on former gossip columnist and author Jeannette Walls' best-selling 2005 memoir, the story follows a young girl and her siblings who grow up with parents who choose to live an unorthodox (and often homeless) life. Brie Larson plays Walls in the film while Woody Harrelson plays Walls' alcoholic father Rex. Naomi Watts plays Walls' mother. The film sees Larson reunite with her Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton.
Among holdovers, Sony's The Dark Tower is falling to No. 4 in its second weekend with roughly $7.5 million, a 61 percent drop.
Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit is likewise tumbling more than 60 percent in its sophomore outing, an unusually steep decline for a drama. The movie looks to come in at No. 13, a few notches above Al Gore's doc An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which is likewise struggling. An Inconvenient Sequel, which is expanding into more than 550 theaters this weekend, is expected to gross just under $1 million.
Aug. 11, 12:45 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Aug. 12, 7:25 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend estimates.