Weekend Box Office: 'The Nun' Delivering Divine $50M-Plus Debut
Elsewhere, 'Crazy Rich Asians' is narrowly beating Jennifer Garner's new action pic 'Peppermint' despite being in its fourth weekend.
Supernatural horror pic The Nun is off to a mighty start at the North American box office, earning a blessed $22.4 million on Friday from 3,876 theaters for $50 million-plus weekend.
If projections hold, the spinoff will score the biggest opening of any title in New Line and Warner Bros.' Conjuring franchise, as well as the second-best September opening of all time behind last year's It ($123.4 million), not adjusted for inflation. The fifth installment is also delivering strong results overseas, where it has earned $32.1 million in its first three days.
Friday's domestic gross includes $5.4 million in previews. The pic's C CinemaScore — the lowest of the series — doesn't appear to be slowing it down so far.
The spooky R-rated pic will easily win the weekend ahead of fellow Warners film Crazy Rich Asians, which has topped the domestic chart for three consecutive weekends. Crazy Rich Asians will hardly be a slouch in its fourth outing, and is expected to earn another $13 million for a domestic total of nearly $136 million through Sunday.
Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun, set in 1952, tells the story of a novice nun (Taissa Farmiga) and a Catholic priest (Demian Bichir) who are dispatched to investigate the mysterious suicide of a nun at a monastery in Romania.
The Nun is a spinoff of The Conjuring 2, which starred Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga — the older sister of Taissa — as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. In 2013, The Conjuring debuted to $41.9 million domestically, followed by $40.4 million for the 2016 sequel. Conjuring spinoff Annabelle debuted to $37.1 million in 2014, while Annabelle: Creation launched to $35.1 million in fall 2017.
The Nun cost a net $22 million to produce.
STXfilms' Peppermint, an R-rated action-thriller starring Jennifer Garner and directed by Pierre Morel (Taken), is also opening nationwide this weekend. Peppermint earned $4.7 million on Friday from 2,980 locations, including $800,000 in previews, for a projected $11 million to $12 million weekend and a third-place finish.
The film's Rotten Tomatoes score is a lowly 16 percent. Audiences like Peppermint better, giving it a B+ CinemaScore.
The story centers on a once-happy suburban wife and mother (Garner) whose life is upended when her husband and daughter are murdered by a powerful local drug cartel. A decade later, the woman seeks revenge against any and all involved in the crime, including the lawyers, cops and dirty judges who helped the killers go free. John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba, Annie Ilonzeh, Jeff Hephner and Pell James co-star.
Freestyle's new faith-based movie God Bless the Broken Road is opting for a smaller footprint as it opens in 1,235 cinemas. The film isn't making much of a mark, earning $493,000 for a projected $1.5 million debut.
From God's Not Dead director Harold Cronk, the pic is loosely based on the Rascal Flatts song "Bless the Broken Road" and follows a widowed mother (Lindsay Pulsipher) whose faith is tested after her husband is killed in Afghanistan. Two years later, she meets a NASCAR driver (Andrew W. Walker) relegated to community service after a reckless crash.
Sept. 7, 12:15 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Sept. 8, 7:45 a.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates and Friday grosses.