'Annabelle' Sequel Eyes $30+ Million Opening as Summer Slow Down Continues

by Brad Brevet

August 10, 2017

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: WB and New Line's Annabelle: Creation is off to an excellent start, bringing in an estimated $15 million on Friday (including $4 million from Thursday previews) on its way to a weekend around $35 million if not more. It's also great news for director David F. Sandberg who helmed last year's hit Lights Out for WB. That film went on to gross nearly $150 million worldwide on a budget under $5 million. The film received a "B" CinemaScore, matching the score for the first film.

Open Road's The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is performing even worse than expected, delivering an estimated $3 million on Friday. This is already shaping up to be the lowest opening for a film playing in over 4,000 theaters by a wide margin. Currently the worst opening for an opening that size belongs to The Emoji Movie with $24.5 million, but with the $9 million or so Nut Job 2 is going to finish with we're talking about a whole new low. The film received a "B+" CinemaScore, a notch higher than the "B" the first film received.

And Lionsgate's The Glass Castle is performing mostly as anticipated, bringing in an estimated $1.65 million on Friday, heading toward a weekend right around $5 million. The film received an "A-" CinemaScore.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Annabelle: Creation got off to a great start last night, bringing in $4 million from Thursday previews, nearly doubling the $2.1 million in previews for Annabelle and topping the $3.3 million in previews for The Conjuring and the $3.4 million in previews for The Conjuring 2.

This doesn't necessarily mean it will improve not the $37 million opening for Annabelle or near the $40+ million debuts for either Conjuring film as previews can be very front-loaded, but it does suggest good things are in the offing for the horror, spin-off sequel over the next three days.

Meanwhile, Open Road's The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature brought in $330,000 from Thursday previews beginning at 5PM. A preview gross this small doesn't tell us much as it is just $45k behind the preview gross for Rio 2, which opened with $39.3 million and it is more than the $300k The Book of Life brought in before its $17 million opening. Additionally, Smurfs: The Lost Village brought in $375k from Thursday previews ahead of its $13.2 million opening earlier this year.

Lastly, Lionsgate's The Glass Castle brought in $138,000 from previews in ~1,200 locations starting at 7PM. Another small preview gross, but for comparison this is an improvement on the $120k Black or White brought in ahead of its $6.2 million opening and just behind the $150k for Before I Fall, which opened with $4.6 million.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Last weekend saw the top twelve films gross a combined $110.4 million, less than half of what the top twelve grossed over the same weekend last year. On top of that, last weekend's overall cumulative gross for all films reached $122.7 million, almost $11 million less than Suicide Squad's $133.6 million opening last year alone. Unfortunately, this weekend is actually looking to be even worse.

Of the weekend's three new wide releases, the Warner Bros. and New Line horror, spin-off sequel Annabelle: Creation should deliver a strong opening, but Open Road's The Nut Job 2 is likely to debut in third and Lionsgate's release of The Glass Castle isn't going wide enough to have too much of an impact. This leaves the holdovers to carry much of the weight and while Dunkirk and Girls Trip will do what they can, there just isn't enough firepower at the box office right now, which could result in a weekend that sees the top twelve struggle to gross a combined $105 million should Mojo's forecasts hold.

Despite that dour lead-in, WB and New Line's Annabelle sequel is looking quite strong. The horror spin-off sequel is opening in 3,502 theaters and while industry expectations peg the $15 million production at a $25 million opening, this one is likely to top $30 million, if not crack $35 million. The film currently carries a 63 Metacritic score and online ticket retailer reports it is outpacing the original Annabelle ($37.1m opening) and last year's horror success Don't Breathe ($26.4m opening) at the same point in the sales cycle. One interesting note about that Metacritic score is the vast improvement over the 37 the original film received, which is somewhat reminiscent of the the 38 the first Ouija film received prior to its $19.8 million opening and the 65 awarded the sequel, which just barely cleared $14 million over its opening weekend. Will the improved Metacritic score for the Annabelle sequel be negated due to the reception the original received?

Adding to the noise, IMDb page view data shows Annabelle: Creation playing well behind the first Annabelle feature, which would be of a greater concern if we didn't see the same disparity when comparing The Conjuring to The Conjuring 2 and yet the sequel opened just $1.4 million behind the original. That said, the performance does suggest Annabelle: Creation won't likely meet the original's $37 million opening, but an opening right around $35 million isn't out of the question. We aren't going that high, however, keeping our forecast at $31.5 million, knowing full well it could outperform.

Runner-up position is likely to fall to Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk for a second week in a row. The World War II feature is entering its fourth weekend in release, playing in 3,762 locations and looking to pull in another $11+ million as it will top $150 million domestically this weekend.

Next is Open Road's The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, which is debuting in a massive 4,003 theaters, but expectations are nowhere near what you'd anticipate for an opening that wide. Right now we're struggling to anticipate an opening higher than $10 million and even that feels aggressive considering the film is playing well behind the original when looking at IMDb page view data leading up to release as well as behind films such as The Smurfs 2 ($17.5m opening), Planes: Fire & Rescue ($17.5m opening) and Free Birds ($15.8m opening). It also doesn't bode well that Metacritic has yet to post a score for the film as of press time, contributing to our expectation for an opening anywhere between $9-12 million.

Moving along, there could be a bit of a tug-of-war for fourth place this weekend, but no matter how it shapes out the continued success of Universal's R-rated comedy Girls Trip will look like the winner. The film has thus far grossed $89.6 million and is looking at another strong hold this weekend for a three-day around $7.6 million. Come Sunday evening the domestic cume will have come up just a couple million shy of $100 million, a milestone it will have to wait a few extra days to hit.

Rounding out the top five we find last weekend's #1 feature. Sony's The Dark Tower is likely to drop significantly in its sophomore frame. The Stephen King adaptation managed just over $19 million in its opening last weekend and we're expecting a 60+% drop this weekend for a second weekend around $7.5 million.

Next we come to Lionsgate's release of The Glass Castle, opening in 1,461 locations. The adult drama is based on the best-selling memoir by Jeannette Walls and reunites Brie Larson with Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts co-starring. Industry expectations are currently for an opening around $5 million, which is a reasonable expectation with our expectations ranging +/- $1 million on either side.

Looking at IMDb page view performance for Glass Castle against films such as Ricki and the Flash, The Hundred-Foot Journey and Florence Foster Jenkins we find the film performing at a pace suggesting an opening at or above $5 million. It should also be said, however, an opening of this size for Lionsgate averages an opening around $3.5 million or so, an average that holds true once you take into account the film's so-so 60 Metacritic score. As such, our forecast puts the film at an opening just over $4 million, though should it reach as high as $6 million we wouldn't be overly surprised.

In limited release, Reliance will premiere Toilet: Ek Prem Katha into 175 theaters; A24 will release Good Time into four theaters; Neon will debut Ingrid Goes West into three theaters; IFC is also debuting The Trip to Spain in three locations; Roadside will debut Amazon's The Only Living Boy in New York in 15 theaters; and Freestyle is releasing Bedeviled.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Annabelle: Creation (3,502 theaters) - $31.5 M
  • Dunkirk (3,762 theaters) - $11.0 M
  • The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (4,003 theaters) - $9.5 M
  • Girls Trip (2,303 theaters) - $7.6 M
  • The Dark Tower (3,451 theaters) - $7.6 M
  • The Emoji Movie (3,219 theaters) - $6.2 M
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2,607 theaters) - $6.0 M
  • Kidnap (2,418 theaters) - $5.6 M
  • Detroit (3,007 theaters) - $4.8 M
  • The Glass Castle (1,461 theaters) - $4.1 M

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.

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