By G9ija

Universal’s slasher film “Candyman” has topped North American box offices in its opening weekend, with a $22 million take nearly equal to its production budget, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Monday.

Analysts said that three-day total surpassed expectations for an R-rated film opening in the Covid-19 era — and with powerful Hurricane Ida depressing attendance in some southern states.

The film, written by Jordan Peele and with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the blood-spattered starring role, had a budget of $25 million, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Last week’s box office leader, 20th Century’s sci-fi comedy “Free Guy,” slipped to second place, at $13.2 million. The family-friendly film stars Ryan Reynolds as an Everyman bank teller who finds he is a character in a huge video game.

In the third spot, also down one position, was Paramount animation “Paw Patrol: The Movie,” at $6.7 million. Based on a popular kids’ television show, it tells the story of a boy named Ryder and the brave pooches who help him save Adventure City from an evil mayor.

In fourth was Disney’s family adventure film “Jungle Cruise” at $5 million, bringing its North American total just past $100 million. The studio is also offering the movie on its Disney Plus streaming service.

And in fifth was the horror feature “Don’t Breathe 2” from Sony, at $2.9 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“Respect” ($2.2 million)

“The Suicide Squad” ($2 million)

“The Protege” ($1.6 million)

“The Night House” ($1.2 million)

“Old” ($840,000)