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The Nun tops US box office with US$53.5m haul

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Premiere of The Nun at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Sept 4.

Los Angeles

THE Nun had a divine opening weekend atop the North American box office. Warner Bros dominated for the fifth weekend in a row as the latest installment in the Conjuring series launched with US$53.5 million in 3,876 locations.

That easily marks the best debut in the series, crushing 2013's The Conjuring, which previously held the record with US$41.8 million. It's also the second-best September debut behind Warner Bros' It.

Overseas, The Nun generated a mighty US$77.5 million for a global start of US$131 million.

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Corin Hardy's horror flick - starring Demian Bichir and Taissa Farmiga - broke a number of franchise records this weekend. It had the largest Thursday showing out of the five movies (US$5.4 million), as well as the biggest opening day (US$22.3 million). Imax screens accounted for US$4.5 million of The Nun debut.

The first four movies in Warner Bros' Conjuring franchise - The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle: Creation - have generated over US$1.1 billion globally to date.

"We knew heading into (last) weekend that anticipation for The Nun was extremely high across multiple demos, but these results surpassed all our expectations," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros' head of domestic distribution. "We anticipate strong word of mouth to carry the film well into the fall, and expect more than a few 'nuns' showing up on doorsteps and at parties this Halloween."

Warner Bros is on a hot streak. The studio has topped the domestic box office for five consecutive weekends. It has also held the top two spots for four straight weeks, the first time a studio has held that distinction in 25 years.

The studio maintained No 2 with Crazy Rich Asians, which earned an impressive US$13.5 million in its fourth weekend. Director Jon Chu's rom-com has now earned US$136 million in North America alone.

Among the newcomers, STX's Peppermint opened on a par with projections. Jennifer Garner's R-rated action thriller secured third place with US$13.2 million when it debuted in 2,890 locations.

The final new entry of the weekend, faith-based drama God Bless The Broken Road, bowed with a dismal US$1.5 million on 1,272 screens.

Rounding out the top five with impressive holdovers is Warner Bros shark thriller The Meg and Sony's Searching.

The Meg earned another US$6.1 million for a domestic tally of US$131.6 million. Meanwhile, Searching brought in US$4.5 million, taking its North American total to US$14.3 million.

Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Fallout crossed a major milestone last weekend, topping US$700 million globally. It has now surpassed Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (US$649.7 million) as the highest-grossing installment in the franchise.

At the speciality box office, Magnolia's documentary Kusama - Infinity opened in just two locations, where it brought in US$30,400. That translates to an impressive US$15,200 per screen.

The first weekend in September is down from last year by 28.3 per cent, according to comScore, but that's to be expected after the horror movie It came along to smash expectations a year ago with its massive US$123 million debut.

Still, the box office is up a healthy 9.5 per cent compared to 2017. REUTERS