A prequel to the prequel to James Wan’s 2013 smash hit The Conjuring ($318 million worldwide), Annabelle: Creation led the box office this weekend with a solid $35 million on a meager $15 million budget, delivering yet a fourth hit for the Wan-produced horror franchise. Sporting solid reviews (68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes compared to its predecessor, which sits at 29 percent), Annabelle: Creation took advantage of a lull in the late summer schedule and audiences starving for a horror flick after a summer that’s only featured two other major horror entries — the underperforming It Comes at Night and the rotten Wish Upon, plus summer’s most terrifying film, The Emoji Movie. The sequel/prequel is down only marginally from Annabelle, which parlayed a $37 million opening into a solid $90 million domestic run. Expect similar results for Creation, which won’t be the last in The Conjuring series. There’s already a The Conjuring 3 in the works as well as another pair of spin-offs, The Nun and The Crooked Man, the latter which is in the early stages of development.
In at number two this weekend is Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, which managed to maintain its place in the top three while others have come and gone during the film’s four-week run. Dunkirk dropped only 37 percent , adding $10 million and pushing its domestic total to $153 million. It’s doing even better overseas where it has racked up $200 million, meaning that the Nolan war film should hit $400 million on only a $100 million price tag. Studios can feel free to continue throwing money at the director.