Box office report: ‘Annabelle: Creation’ scares off the competition

As the summer box office continues to look a fright, the horror movie Annabelle: Creation is on track to debut with an estimated $35 million gross in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, topping fellow newcomers The Nut Job 2 and The Glass Castle as well as holdovers including Dunkirk and The Dark Tower.

The fourth installment of Warner Bros. and New Line’s Conjuring franchise, Annabelle: Creation is poised for the lowest opening of the series, behind Annabelle’s $37.1 million, The Conjuring’s $41.9 million, and The Conjuring 2’s $40.4 million. Nevertheless, $35 million represents a strong start for a chiller that cost a modest $15 million to make.

Reviews have been mixed to positive for the film, which currently has a 68 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences gave it a CinemaScore of B. The story centers on a grieving dollmaker and his wife with a haunted past who welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home. David F. Sandberg directed, and the cast includes Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, and Stephanie Sigman.

Holding steady in second place is Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk, which is set to take in an estimated $11.4 million over its fourth weekend in theaters. A rare bright spot during a sluggish summer, the Warner Bros. movie will thus cross the $150 million mark at the domestic box office, while tallying $210 million from foreign markets.

Rounding out the weekend’s top three is the Open Road animated sequel The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, with an estimated $8.9 million. Despite being good enough for third place, that figure is less than half of what the first Nut Job movie opened to — $19.4 million — on 500 fewer screens in 2014.

Reviews have not been kind to the computer-animated comedy, which follows a group of animals trying to stop an egomaniacal mayor from bulldozing their home to make way for a shoddy amusement park. Audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore.

The weekend’s other newcomer, the Brie Larson drama The Glass Castle, will crack the top 10 with an estimated $4.9 million. Opening in 1,461 theaters, the Lionsgate film has a much smaller footprint than than many of its competitors; Annabelle: Creation, for example, is playing in 3,502 locations, and Nut Job 2 is playing in 4,003.

Based on gossip columnist Jeannette Walls’ 2005 memoir about her unconventional, poverty-stricken upbringing and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), The Glass Castle divided critics but garnered an A-minus CinemaScore, suggesting positive word of mouth.

Meanwhile last weekend’s winner, the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower, will tumble to the No. 4 slot with an estimated $7.9 million. Notching a 59 percent decline, the Sony film continues the recent trend of steep second-week drops.

Check back for updates …

Per ComScore, overall box office is down 4.1 percent from the same frame from last year. Check out the Aug. 11-13 figures below.

1. Annabelle: Creation — $35 million
2. Dunkirk — $11.4 million
3. The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature — $8.9 million
4. The Dark Tower — $7.9 million
5. The Emoji Movie — $6.6 million
6. Girls Trip — $6.5 million
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming — $6.1 million
8. Kidnap — $ 5.2 million
9. The Glass Castle — $4.9 million
10. Atomic Blonde — $4.6 million