Of the four new wide releases this weekend, only Universal's "The House With a Clock In its Walls" managed to place among the top five at the box office.
Amblin Entertainment's PG-rated fantasy opened in first place in the United States and Canada with $26.8 million, above analysts' predictions of $18 million to $25 million, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore.
Based on John Bellairs' book about a boy who moves into a supernatural mansion owned by a mysterious uncle, the film cost an estimated $40 million to make. It earned positive reviews from audiences and critics with a B-plus CinemaScore rating and a 68% "fresh" on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
The film marks the biggest opening ever for director Eli Roth whose most notable film, "Hostel," opened with $19 million in 2006.
In second place, Lionsgate's "A Simple Favor" added $10.4 million in its second weekend (a strong hold with just a 35% drop) for a cumulative $32.6 million.
Warner Bros.' "The Nun" landed at No. 3 in its third weekend, adding $10.2 million to its cumulative $100.9 million in ticket sales.
At No. 4, Fox's "The Predator" added $8.7 million in its second weekend, a massive drop of 65%, for a cumulative $40.4 million.
Rounding out the top five, Warner Bros.' "Crazy Rich Asians" added $6.5 million in its sixth weekend, for a cumulative $159.4 million.
Among the wide releases that underperformed this weekend, all were distributed by studios who don't typically release on that scale.
First-time distributor Briarcliff's Michael Moore documentary "Fahrenheit 11/9" landed at No. 8 with $3.1 million, just under analysts' predictions of $4 million.
An attack on the Trump presidency, the film opened well below Moore's 2004 anti-George W. Bush polemic "Fahrenheit 9/11," which opened with $24 million and, with $119 million in domestic receipts, went on to become the highest grossing documentary ever.
The success of the earlier film led to high expectations for "Fahrenheit 11/9," which were heightened by the film’s release in more than 1,700 theaters. Though it came in just under projections, "Fahrenheit 11/9" is Moore's second-highest opening ever and a huge result for a documentary.
Amazon Studios opened the drama "Life Itself" with $2.1 million across 2,609 locations, the widest release ever for the studio.
The film, which follows a multigenerational love story, came in well under analysts' predictions of $4 million to $6 million.
Starring Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde and written by Dan Fogelman (creator of the critically acclaimed TV show "This Is Us"), it earned mixed reviews with audiences and critics with a B-plus rating on CinemaScore and a 13% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Neon's thriller "Assassination Nation" opened with $1 million in 1,403 theaters, the widest release ever for the 2-year-old studio on an opening weekend. It earned a so-so 65% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In limited release, Bleecker Street opened "Collette" in four theaters with $156,788, a strong per-screen average of $39,197. The film, which stars Keira Knightley, earned positive reviews from critics with a 92% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Annapurna's "The Sisters Brothers" also performed with $122,028 across four locations for a per-screen average of $30,507. It earned an 82% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.