‘Annabelle: Creation’ Conjures Surprise $35 Million at Box Office

New movie in horror franchise beats expectations by nearly topping debut of first “Annabelle”

Annabelle: Creation

Horror movies continued their trend of strong performances this weekend, as Warner Bros./New Line’s “Annabelle: Creation” won the No. 1 spot handily with a $35 million opening. Trackers had pegged the film for an opening of $27-30 million. Instead, “Creation” has nearly matched the opening results of the first “Annabelle,” which made $37.1 million in 2014.

While critics mostly panned the first “Annabelle” with a 29 percent rating, critics who saw “Creation” at the Los Angeles Film Festival and San Diego Comic-Con were much kinder, giving this prequel a 69 percent RT score. Audiences gave the film a B on CinemaScore, same as its predecessor.

Taking second is another WB film, “Dunkirk,” which earned $11.4 million in its fourth weekend. That result puts “Dunkirk” past the $150 million domestic mark with $153 million.

In third is Open Road’s “The Nut Job 2,” which is performing well below tracker projections with $8.5 million against studio and tracker pre-weekend projections in the mid-teens. Anything less than an A- for an animated film on CinemaScore is considered poor reception, as strong results from underage audiences tend to bump up the grade. But “Nut Job 2” only received a B+ on CinemaScore, while receiving an abysmal 11 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

In fourth is Columbia/MRC’s “The Dark Tower,” which took a 60 percent hit from its $19.5 million opening to make $7.8 million in its second weekend. Fighting for the last spot in the top five are two holdover titles: “Girls Trip” and “The Emoji Movie,” which are both estimated to make around $6.5 million this weekend. It’s a particularly good result for “Girls Trip,” as this week it will become the first comedy to gross $100 million domestically. Also crossing the $100 million mark this week is TriStar/MRC’s “Baby Driver” after seven weekends in theaters, becoming the first film from director Edgar Wright to do so.

Finishing outside the top 5 in ninth is Lionsgate’s “The Glass Castle,” which had a targeted release of 1,400 screens and made an estimated $4.87 million. Pre-weekend projection put the adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ memoirs at $5-7 million. The film has a 50 percent RT score. Meanwhile, Annapurna’s “Detroit” fell 59 percent to $2.9 million, bringing its cume to just $13.3 million after ten days in wide release.