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Annabelle: Creation to haunt top spot at box office

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 8/11/2017 Joey Nolfi
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(Video provided by Screenplay)

Spooky dolls, a pack of chatty critters, and a family of nomads venture into the box office arena this weekend as the lackluster summer season enters the home stretch. While none of this week’s newcomers are in a position to single-handedly make up 2017’s 29.6 percent deficit over last year’s May-August frame, the latest the Warner Bros./New Line Conjuring spin-off series could spark a jolt of energy across this traditionally slow month for mainstream movies (though last year at this time, Suicide Squad dominated with $133 million), likely scaring off its fellow newcomers — which could struggle to stake a claim in the top five at all.

So, how will they fare against each other? Check out EW’s Aug. 11-13 box office predictions below.

© Warner Bros; red rover; Jake Giles Netter/Lionsgate 1. Annabelle: Creation – $40 million

After taking in an impressive $4 million from Thursday night previews, the horror spin-off is looking at a potential Conjuring series-best opening in the days ahead, with its preshow gross rocketing past The Conjuring 2‘s $3.4 million Thursday take (en route to a $40 million launch) on a modest $15 million budget. Given the lack of major horror hits in recent months, genre fans are starved for a thrill — and judging by reviews (63 percent on Metacritic as of Friday) Annabelle: Creation will deliver.

2. The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – $13.5 million

Much like their live-action counterparts, animated comedies haven’t made a significant impact in an oversaturated market in the recent past. So far this year, Despicable Me 3, despite notching a series-low total in North America, made $244.6 million, while Cars 3 underperformed with just under $150 million. Most recently, The Emoji Movie has grossed $57 million and counting based on a concept not tied to a pre-existing franchise. Though The Nut Job 2 has a built-in fan base ready to buy tickets, its predecessor didn’t exactly light the market on fire back in 2014, pulling in a so-so $64.3 million. With negative reviews piling up (12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 3.8 out of 10), don’t expect The Nut Job 2 to blossom beyond its forerunner.

3. Dunkirk – $11 million

Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic has coasted through the start of the second half of 2017 with some of the best reviews of the year and heavy Oscar buzz in several above-the-line categories. Its potential to sustain through the awards race ahead is aided greatly by its stellar performance at the box office, dropping between 30 percent and 50 percent (uncharacteristic of a big-budget summer blockbuster) since its $50 million opening weekend. With little in terms of competition in its way this weekend, Dunkirk will stay in that range for another finish in the $10 million to $12 million range.

© Universal Pictures

4. Girls Trip – $6.8 million

One of the standout hits of an otherwise uneventful summer, Girls Trip (around $90 million as of Thursday) looks to be the first live-action comedy to cross the $100 million mark since Bad Moms traversed a similar track last year, continuing its slow descent down the top five as it aims to shed at least 40 percent in its fourth weekend.

5. The Dark Tower– $6.6 million

Though it topped the weekend box office last week, its $19.1 million debut marks one of the lowest chart-topping grosses in a year filled with big-budget disappointments. While Dark Tower‘s reported $60 million production costs are far less than other tentpole movies, the film will struggle to recoup that number in North America, as similar films tend to drop substantially — between 50 percent and 70 percent — over their sophomore weekends. Its planned worldwide rollout in the weeks ahead should help keep the film afloat, but not by much. With dismal reviews and lukewarm audience reception, expect The Dark Tower to make another $6 million to $8 million through Sunday.

Jockeying for positioning outside the top five, Brie Larson fronts an ensemble cast in The Glass Castle, her first big-screen reunion with Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton. Based on Jeannette Walls’ popular 2005 memoir of the same name, the film follows a young woman who recounts family dysfunction among her unorthodox clan. The book has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, meaning there’s a pre-established audience already familiar with the film’s source, but critics haven’t been kind to the adaptation thus far (it stands at a middling 56 percent on Metacritic), and the film is opening at an estimated 1,500 theaters, a small number for a major release looking to rope in more than those who’ve read the book. Look for the film to take around $4 million this weekend.

Hot off a successful run at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Robert Pattinson and the Safdie brothers bring their well-received thriller Good Time stateside for a limited run in the days ahead. It should be able to notch a substantial per-screen average from four theaters (via A24) thanks to dazzling reviews and Pattinson’s lingering Twilight popularity. The project marks yet another prestigious turn on the specialty scene for the movie star, who also appeared in James Gray’s Lost City of Z and David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, among others,following his star-making appearances in the Twilight films.

Elsewhere, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, and Jeff Bridges team for The Only Living Boy in New York, directed by former Spider-Man filmmaker Marc Webb. The specialty drama should muster up a decent per-theater average in limited release thanks to the mature crowd. Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen also partner for the social media stalker flick Ingrid Goes West, debuting on three screens to near universal acclaim from critics.

Check back with EW on Sunday for our full report when weekend box office estimates roll in.

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