NEW YORK – “The Nun 2” and “A Haunting in Venice” virtually tied for the No. 1 spot in U.S. and Canadian theaters over the weekend, with a slight edge carrying the horror sequel over the Hercule Poirot mystery, according to studio estimates Sunday.
In its second weekend of release, Warner Bros.' “The Nun 2,” a spinoff from the studio's lucrative “Conjuring” franchise, grossed $14.7 million. If numbers hold, that will give “The Nun 2” (up to $56.5 million total and $158.8 million worldwide) the top spot at the box office for the second straight week.
Very close behind was “A Haunting in Venice,” Kenneth Branagh's third Agatha Christie adaptation following 2017's “Murder on the Orient Express” and 2022's “Death on the Nile.” It opened with $14.5 million.
Final box-office figures will be released Monday.
After the successful run of “Murder on the Orient Express" ($352.8 million worldwide against a production budget of $55 million) and the less-stellar global haul of “Death on the Nile" ($137.3 million against a $90 million budget), the sluggish start for “A Haunting in Venice” may have signaled the death knell for Branagh's detective.
The 20th Century Studios film, released by the Walt Disney Co., grossed $22.7 million internationally. And it cost less than its predecessor, carrying a production budget of about $60 million.
“The Equalizer 3,” starring Denzel Washington, dropped to third place with $7.2 million. In three weeks, its grossed $73.7 million domestically and $132.4 million worldwide. Fourth place went to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” with $4.7 million in its second weekend of release. It's grossed $18.5 million domestically.
It was one of the quietest weekend in movie theaters this year, as Hollywood — which has spent much of the last two weeks promoting its films at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals — treads water in between the summer smashes of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” and awaits its top fall movies. Some of those, like “Dune: Part Two," have already postponed until next year due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.
One anticipated fall film, Sony's “Dumb Money,” opted for a platform release, debuting in eight theaters over the weekend before expanding next weekend and going wide Sept. 29. The film, a rollicking dramatization of the GameStop stock frenzy, grossed $217,000, for a per-location average of about $27,000.
And “Barbie” also remains in the picture. For the ninth straight weekend, Greta Gerwig's box-office sensation ranked in the top five films. It added $4 million to bring its domestic total to $625 million and its global haul to $1.42 billion. Meanwhile, “Oppenheimer” has reached $912.7 million, making it the highest grossing biopic ever, passing “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Nun II,” $14.7 million.
2. “A Haunting in Venice,” $14.5 million.
3. “The Equalizer 3,” $7.2 million.
4. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” $4.7million.
5. “Barbie,” $4 million.
6. “Jawan,” $2.5 million.
7. “Blue Beetle,” $2.5 million.
8. “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story,” $2.4 million.
9. “Oppenheimer,” $2.1 million.
10. “ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” $2 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP