A prequel to the prequel to James Wan’s 2013 smash hit The Conjuring ($318 million worldwide), Annabelle: Creation led the box office this weekend with a solid $35 million on a meager $15 million budget, delivering yet a fourth hit for the Wan-produced horror franchise. Sporting solid reviews (68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes compared to its predecessor, which sits at 29 percent), Annabelle: Creation took advantage of a lull in the late summer schedule and audiences starving for a horror flick after a summer that’s only featured two other major horror entries — the underperforming It Comes at Night and the rotten Wish Upon, plus summer’s most terrifying film, The Emoji Movie. The sequel/prequel is down only marginally from Annabelle, which parlayed a $37 million opening into a solid $90 million domestic run. Expect similar results for Creation, which won’t be the last in The Conjuring series. There’s already a The Conjuring 3 in the works as well as another pair of spin-offs, The Nun and The Crooked Man, the latter which is in the early stages of development.
In at number two this weekend is Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, which managed to maintain its place in the top three while others have come and gone during the film’s four-week run. Dunkirk dropped only 37 percent , adding $10 million and pushing its domestic total to $153 million. It’s doing even better overseas where it has racked up $200 million, meaning that the Nolan war film should hit $400 million on only a $100 million price tag. Studios can feel free to continue throwing money at the director.
The news isn’t so good for The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, which deserved to flop by virtue of its subtitle alone. Dreadful reviews didn’t help matters (11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), so parents — already burned by The Emoji Movie three weeks ago — had no desire to sit through another clunker with their kids. The sequel has no hope of catching up to even its middling predecessor ($64 million domestic), and given its opening weekend performance, it may struggle to break even on a $40 million budget even after international box office is accounted for (the original made only $56 million internationally). I’m at a loss as to explain why a sequel was even greenlit. It does have one more weekend at the box office, at least, before The Weinstein’s Leap hits screens, but don’t expect too much from it, either, despite solid reviews. It’s release date has been pushed four times in America after fetching only $57 million in international markets, where it was released last year.
Holdovers accounted for fourth through ninth places this week. The Dark Tower had a precipitous 61 percent fall after only a so-so opening weekend. It earned $7.5 million this weekend to push its total to $33 million, so it will have to rely on international grosses if it hopes to break even on its $60 million budget (in 15 countries, so far, it’s only earned $8 million after a week of release). Fifth place went to Girls Trip, which earned $6.4 million and edged ever closer to the century mark ($97 million, so far).
The Emoji Movie, despite struggling at the box office, only earned $2 million less than The Nut Job 2 even in its third week and it crosses the $60 million mark domestically (it’s also flopped internationally, where it’s only earned $12 million, so far). In at 7th place, Spider-Man: Homecoming crossed the $300 million mark this weekend, as it stands as the fourth highest grossing film of 2017 (in spite of that, it’s still $60 million short of the worldwide box office of the first Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movie). Halle Berry’s Kidnap, meanwhile, dropped 50 percent, adding $5 million to bring its 10-day total to $19.2 million.
In at ninth place is another new release this weekend, The Glass Castle. The movie, based on the life of Jeanette Walls, reteamed Brie Larson with her Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton. It’s $5 million opening weekend is only so-so for this specialty title and it will need good word of mouth (A- Cinemascore) to trump its Rotten Tomatoes score (50 percent) if it has any hope of turning a late-summer profit. For the record, though I recognized that The Glass Castle isn’t a particularly good movie, I still found it to be emotionally resonant.
Finally, 10th place goes to Atomic Blonde in its third weekend. With $4.3 million and $42 million overall, it has quietly matched the domestic box office total of the first John Wick movie. A good international run might even give the $30 million movie a chance at a sequel.
It’s worth nothing this week that Detroit suffered a 61 percent fall, falling outside of the top ten with only $2.8 million. It stands little chance of hanging on to theaters in the fall, virtually dooming its awards prospects. The news isn’t so great for Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth sequel, either. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power scored less than $800,000 this weekend despite screening in over 550 theaters. Meanwhile, in very limited release, Robert Pattinson’s Good Time edged out Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid Goes West $159,000 to $153,000, but the Pattinson movie screened in four locations compared to three for West.