Warner Bros.' new horror movie "The Nun II" floated to the top of the North American box office this weekend with an estimated take of $32.6 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
Horror movies had proved resilient during the pandemic, and this ninth chapter in "The Conjuring" series continued the trend, though falling short of the original $53.8 million take of 2018's "The Nun."
"This is a very good opening for a horror follow-up sequel," said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.
Taissa Farmiga -- younger sister to horror film veteran Vera Farmiga -- Belgian actor Jonas Bloquet and Storm Reid star in the gothic tale of spiritual infestations, mystifying deaths, swirling fog and a demonic goat.
Last weekend's box office leader, Sony's "The Equalizer 3" starring ever-popular Denzel Washington, slipped to second, taking in an estimated $12.1 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period.
The vigilante action film again has Washington playing a retired US Marine and drug-enforcement agent, this time battling an Italian gang.
In third for the weekend, at an even $10 million, was new release "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3," from Focus Features and Universal Pictures.
Gross called that opening "weak" for a romantic comedy sequel, noting that few in the genre -- "Bridget Jones" being a partial exception -- can keep the romantic complications fresh and funny enough to sustain interest through three episodes.
"Greek Wedding 3" was written and directed by Nia Vardalos, the actor and comedian who had her breakthrough in the series' first film.
New release "Jawan" from Yash Raj films came in fourth at $6.2 million -- a bit of a coup for a Hindi-language action thriller in somewhat limited North American release.
Actor/director Shah Rukh Khan "is opening films as big at the domestic box office, if not bigger, as most American comedies on one-fourth the screens with only grassroots promotion," Exhibitor Relations noted on the platform now called X.
Bollywood's Khan himself stars in the action-packed story, which begins with the hijacking for ransom of a Mumbai Metro.
And in fifth -- finally losing a bit of the pink in its cheeks in its eighth weekend out -- was Warner Bros.' long-dominant "Barbie," starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
It took in $5.9 million, raising its domestic total to $620 million. With its $782 million in tickets sold abroad, the Greta Gerwig film has now surpassed $1.4 billion.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"Blue Beetle" ($3.8 million)
"Gran Turismo" ($3.4 million)
"Oppenheimer" ($3 million)
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" ($2.6 million)
"Bottoms" ($2.1 million)