Annabelle: Creation Leads Quiet August Weekend
By John Hamann
August 13, 2017
Thank goodness we have Annabelle: Creation opening this weekend, or the box office would be in even more trouble than it is.
Following a series of mistakes that have included The Dark Tower entering the scene last weekend, and others like Kidnap, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Wish Upon flopping and flailing, the box office is in full-on horror show mode. Now, more mediocre debut this weekend and only drag things down further compared to last year. Sure, the box office has taken "success time outs" for current top 10 films like Dunkirk and Spider-Man: Homecoming, but numbers are otherwise sinking dreadfully versus last year’s results. This weekend's results are not going to help things overall. Despite an admirable debut for Annabelle: Creation at $35 million, more damage is done by unsettling results for The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (shocking that no one saw it with that title), and The Glass Castle, a downbeat drama that opened in only 1,461 theaters. Let’s throw some lipstick on this pig and have a look at the results.
Our number one film is Annabelle: Creation, a movie that is born from The Conjuring series of films, an often well-revered franchise, save for the original Annabelle film (29% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes). This prequel of Annabelle got started with a hot $4 million in Thursday night preview sales, setting the stage for a possibly dominant weekend, as the horror flick earned about a quarter of what last weekend’s number one film earned all weekend – on Thursday alone. With slow sales overall, Annabelle: Creation had the playpen to itself and could dominate the biggest screens in theaters everywhere. The combined Thursday/Friday for the James Wan produced film came in at $15 million, pretty much on par with the last Annabelle, which took in $15.5 million on opening day. Annabelle earned $2.1 million from Thursday previews, which means the Friday-to-Friday comparison was lower for the prequel, and could be an indication of legs going forward.
Over the weekend, Annabelle: Creation earned $35 million from 3,502 venues, a very solid start for any horror title. Creation easily beat the $30 million tracking estimate and fits in with the franchise, as 2014’s Annabelle opened to $37.1 million, The Conjuring 2 opened to $40.4 million in 2016, and the original Conjuring debuted with $41.9 million in 2013. Bad horror franchises are often going straight-to-video by the fourth film; good franchises are different. A franchise like Saw had its series peak at the third film with $33.6 million, but the fourth film was not far behind at $31.8 million. The Insidious franchise had a small opening for the original at $13.3 million, but followed with a second chapter that earned $40.3 million on opening weekend. The third chapter dipped to a $22.7 million open, and the fourth Insidious film will open in January.
Annabelle: Creation is another hit in the franchise for Warner Bros. and New Line, no matter where it finishes. The film cost only $15 million to make (plus the advertising dollars for the incessant TV ads), but as $15 million was its opening day number, I’d say the studio will be happy with the result. Annabelle could also see some decent legs. The film was 68% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, and the Cinemascore was a healthy for horror B, matching the last film, but failing to meet the A- earned by the two Conjuring films. The previous Annabelle also earned an amazing $172 million overseas, so the party is just getting started for the scary doll and her victims.