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Box Office: ‘Annabelle: Creation’ Surging to $38 Million Debut

It seems that audiences are eager to drown out the threat of nuclear armageddon on the Korean peninsula by hitting up the multiplexes this weekend. Nothing makes Americans forget about a looming missile crisis like a demonically possessed children’s toy.

With cable news chyrons blaring the latest in the war of words between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, “Annabelle: Creation” is shaping up to be a much more potent force than initially anticipated. The Warner Bros. and New Line horror film is on track to bring in as much as $38 million this weekend from 3,502 locations, according to Friday afternoon projections. Some rival studios even think it has a chance of hitting $40 million. No matter where it lands, the opening weekend will be a nice return on the film’s $15 million production budget. It’s also a much bigger debut than the $25 million launch that many were predicting the film would enjoy.

Annabelle: Creation” is the newest entry in the “Conjuring” cinematic universe. The first “Annabelle” kicked off to $37.1 million, while “The Conjuring” and “The Conjuring 2” premiered to $41.9 million and $40.4 million, respectively.

David F. Sandberg directed the prequel, starring Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, and Miranda Otto, about a dollmaker whose creation terrorizes a group of orphans. Reviews have been favorable, which may be helping the pic break through in a bigger way than expected.

With “Annabelle: Creation” dominating ticket sales, last weekend’s box office champ, “The Dark Tower,” will likely slide to fourth place with $7.6 million. That should push the fantasy epic’s domestic total to roughly $33 million.

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is locked in a tight race for second place with another major new release, “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.” Both films should pull in roughly $10 million. The “Nut Job” follow-up is produced by Open Road Studios and is rolling out in more than 4,000 locations. It centers on a group of animals who attempt to save their home from being bulldozed and turned into an amusement park. The first film opened to $19.4 million and went on to gross $120.9 million worldwide. The “Nut Job” sequel could pick up steam on Saturday, which is traditionally a popular day for families to go to the theater.

“Dunkirk,” a World War II drama that has been rapturously received, will end the weekend with more than $150 million in domestic ticket sales.

The only other wide release is Lionsgate’s “The Glass Castle,” an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ 2005 memoir. The drama reunites Brie Larson with her “Short Term 12” director Destin Daniel Cretton. It should make $5 million during its inaugural weekend.

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