‘Don’t Breathe,’ Sony’s $10 Million Horror Film, Opens No. 1

“Don’t Breathe,” a low-budget horror film from Sony Corp., led the box office in its North American debut, ending a three-week run for “Suicide Squad.”

The critically praised movie collected an estimated $26.4 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, researcher ComScore Inc. said Monday in a statement, outdrawing three other new releases, including a biopic about President Barack Obama. Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” dropped to second place with $12.2 million.

Typically a slow time for cinemas, the last days of summer are an opportunity for lower-cost films to squeeze into theaters after most of the big Hollywood movies have played out. Several smaller pictures benefited from the chance, while “Don’t Breathe” continued a tradition of horror movies shining in the last weekend of August. The successful films have included “Halloween” in 2007, “The Final Destination” in 2009, and “The Last Exorcism ” in 2010.

“Don’t Breathe” follows Rocky, a young woman looking to start a new life. She takes part in a burglary targeting a wealthy blind man who turns out to be a serial killer. The movie scored 87 percent positive reviews at the RottenTomatoes.com. It cost $9.9 million to make, not including marketing costs, according to researcher Box Office Mojo, and was forecast by Hollywood Stock Exchange to debut with $18.1 million in ticket sales.

“Mechanic: Resurrection,” from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., opened in fifth place with sales of $7.46 million.

The film is a sequel to the 2011 action movie, which itself was a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson thriller. The latest version features Jason Statham again as professional assassin Arthur Bishop. Jessica Alba co-stars. The film was expected to take in $6.8 million, the projection of BoxOfficePro.com analysts. RottenTomatoes gave it 24 percent positive reviews.

“Southside With You,” via Roadside Attractions, opened with $2.87 million to place 14th. The critically praised film, about Obama’s courting of future wife Michelle, garnered 93 percent positive reviews. BoxOfficeGuru.com was predicting about $3 million.

Weinstein Co.’s “Hands of Stone,” about boxer Roberto Duran, opened in 16th place with sales of $1.75 million. The movie features Edgar Ramirez in the title role and Robert De Niro as his trainer Ray Arcel. Doug Stone of Box Office Analyst was predicting $3 million in sales for the film, which garnered 46 percent positive reviews at RottenTomatoes.

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