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‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ Levitates to No. 1 at Friday Box Office

Eli Roth’s mid-budget family frightfest is showing solid numbers

Universal’s “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” is off to a solid start at the box office, earning $7.8 million on Friday from 3,592 screens and putting itself on course to easily take No. 1 at the box office with an estimated $24 million opening.

Amblin didn’t break the bank making Eli Roth’s first PG film, keeping the budget for “Clock” at a reasonable $40 million. Should the current estimate hold through the weekend, it will represent an opening on the higher end of tracker expectations, which had pegged the Jack Black-Cate Blanchett vehicle for a start in the low $20 million range.

Inspired by the dark fantasies Amblin released in the 1980s, the film has earned mixed reviews with a 67 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, but had a solid reception from opening night audiences with a B+.

In second place is Lionsgate’s “A Simple Favor” with an estimated $10.5 million in its second weekend. That result would be just 34 percent down from the $16 million opening earned last weekend by the Paul Feig thriller. In third is Warner Bros.’ “The Nun,” which will hit $100 million domestic if its third weekend estimate of $9.5 million holds.

In fourth is Fox’s “The Predator,” which is taking a hard fall in its second weekend to an estimated $7.5 million, down 69 percent from its $24.6 million opening. It’s a similar drop to the one “Alien: Covenant” suffered in May 2017, falling 63 percent from its $36 million opening on Memorial Day Weekend. The $88 million “Predator” is now looking at a 10-day total of just under $40 million, compared to $60 million for “Covenant.”

In fifth is WB’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” which holds on to the top five for a sixth weekend with an estimated $6.5 million. Outside the top five, Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9” is in eighth with an estimated $2.8 million start from 1,719 screens. The anti-Trump documentary earned strong reception from like-minded audiences with an 80 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and an A on CinemaScore, but it’s looking at a weaker start than the wide openings for Moore’s “Sicko” ($3.6 million) and “Capitalism: A Love Story” ($4.4 million).

Finally, Dan Fogelman’s “Life Itself” sits in 10th with a $2.1 million estimated opening, lower than the $3.5-5 million start projected by trackers. Distributed by Amazon Studios, the film from the “This Is Us” creator earned a B+ on CinemaScore, but was panned by critics with a 13 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.