“The Nun,” a fresh horror spinoff from “The Conjuring” series, opened as the No. 1 film in North America, outdrawing two other wide releases and delivering a box-office jolt to AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. studio.
Despite mostly negative reviews, the film caught on with fans of the series and beat forecasts by collecting $53.5 million this weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, ComScore Inc. estimated in an email Sunday. That was enough to topple the previous leader “Crazy Rich Asians,” which fell to second place. “Peppermint,” from STX Entertainment, opened in third place.
“The Nun” adds to a strong stretch for Warner Bros., whose parent company was acquired by AT&T this year. Thanks to “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Meg,” the studio has held the No. 1 spot for five straight weekends. Warner Bros. also has a few more potential hits to come this year with the awards contender “A Star is Born,” another “Fantastic Beasts” movie and “Aquaman.”
“The Nun” harks back to a demonic character who first appeared in “The Conjuring 2” in 2016. In the new movie, a novitiate played by Taissa Farmiga and a priest played by Demián Bichir are sent by the Vatican to investigate the suicide of a young nun in Romania.
The $22 million production scored recommendations from just 36 percent of critics, according to RottenTomatoes.com, a website that aggregates reviews. It was expected to collect $45 million in its first weekend, topping the $42 million for the original “The Conjuring” in 2013 and marking the biggest opening for the franchise, according to Box Office Mojo. Another untitled “Conjuring” movie is lined up for 2019.
“Peppermint” opened with weekend sales of $13.3 million, in line with the projection from Box Office Pro. Jennifer Garner stars as a young mother, out for revenge after waking from a coma to find her husband and child have been murdered. The R-rated feature, the third release from STX Entertainment in the past four weeks, failed to inspire critics. Just 17 percent recommended the movie.