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Weekend Box Office: ‘Annabelle: Creation’ Scares Off August Blues With $35M

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Still, it’s another down weekend at the box office as ‘The Nut Job 2’ misses and holdovers like ‘Dark Tower’ and ‘Detroit’ continue to flail.

Moviegoers like playing with dolls — or at least menacing ones.

Warner Bros./New Line’s Annabelle: Creation conjured up a pleasing $35 million from 3,502 theaters in its domestic box-office debut, more than enough to scare off the competition even as it came in somewhat behind the previous three films in the successful Conjuring horror franchise.

And overall, it was another sluggish weekend at the North American box office, with revenue down more than 30 percent from the same frame last year as new animated offering The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature did muted business and holdovers including The Dark Tower and Detroit continued to struggle.

Annabelle: Creation, an origin film directed by David F. Sandberg, 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.

In summer 2016, Conjuring 2 opened to $40.4 million on its way to grossing $320.3 million globally. Annabelle, a spinoff, debuted to $37.1 million in 2014, while The Conjuring took in $41.9 million in 2013.

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.

The horror pic marks yet another summer win for Warners after Wonder Woman and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, which remained a formidable force in its fourth weekend, placing No. 2 with roughly $11 million and crossing the $150 million mark in North America, no small accomplishment for a World War II drama relying on an older audience.

Open Road’s animated sequel The Nut Job 2 followed at No. 3 with an estimated $8 million-$9 million from 4,003 theaters, less than half the $19.4 million collected by The Nut Job in January 2014.

Nut Job 2 rolled 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.

Sony’s The Dark Tower fell from No. 1 to No. 4 in its second outing with an estimated $8 million for a disappointing 10-day domestic total of roughly $34 million.

Universal’s Girls Trip, one of the most successful live-action comedies in recent times, rounded out the top five as it approached the $100 million threshold. (Sony’s Baby Driver, another summer win, crossed $100 million mark over the weekend.)

Outside of the top five, Lionsgate’s adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best-selling memoir about her harrowing childhood, The Glass Castle, placed No. 8 or No. 9, according to early estimates.

The drama opened in far fewer theaters than its rivals, or 1,461 locations, grossing an estimated $4.9 million. Brie Larson, who reunites with her Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton, plays Walls in the film while Woody Harrelson plays Walls’ alcoholic father Rex. Naomi Watts plays Walls’ mother. Glass Castle, earning an A- CinemaScore, skewed heavily female (80 percent).

Director Kathryn Bigelow and Annapurna Pictures’ Detroit tumbled 58 percent in its second weekend to $3 million for a domestic total of $13.4 million and coming in No. 13.

Al Gore’s climate documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is likewise having trouble finding its footing. The doc, from Paramount and Participant Media, earned less than $1 million as it expanded into a total of 556 theaters over the weekend for a total in the $2.3 million range.

The Weinstein Co.’s Wind River posted a strong location average of $14,279 as it moved into 45 theaters in its sophomore outing.

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