Disney and 20th Century Studios' "Barbarian" opened atop the domestic box office last weekend, scaring up $10 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.
Director Zach Cregger's third feature film premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in July and opened last Friday on 2,340 screens.
The acclaimed horror flick exceeded expectations during a relatively quiet period at the North American box office as the summer movie season comes to a close, making way for spooky season. Another new Disney title, Star Studios' "Brahmastra: Part One -- Shiva," nabbed second place with $4.4 million -- the fourth-best domestic opening ever for a Bollywood film.
"Barbarian" stars Georgina Campbell as a woman who endures a terrifying stay at an Airbnb. The cast of the twisty thriller also includes Bill Skarsgard, Justin Long and Matthew Patrick Davis.
The chilling feature scored an impressive 92% fresh rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and a lackluster C-plus grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore.
"Cregger wraps this multilayered contemporary social commentary in a rip-roaring, utterly horrifying flick that's inspired by classic horror filmmaking and tropes," film critic Katie Walsh writes for the Los Angeles Times.
"It's the throwback appeal coupled with fresh ideas -- and plenty of skull-rattling scares -- that makes this such an exciting new film and one of the must-see horror movies of the year."
"In a weekend where the overall box office is quite low, the top number of $10 million is a really solid number for this marketplace," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. "Horror movies are always an accountant's dream, and this is why."
Coming in a distant second, but playing on just 810 screens, was "Brahmastra: Part One -- Shiva," an Indian, Hindi-language fantasy epic from Star Studios, another subsidiary of Disney.
The film written and directed by Ayan Mukerji, about a DJ named Shiva who discovers a connection with the element of fire and an ability to awaken a supernatural super-powerful weapon, earned $4.4 million in its first weekend in North America.
The action adventure stars Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor.
On Rotten Tomatoes, "Brahmastra: Part One -- Shiva" drew a lukewarm rating of 63%. The fantasy film has yet to receive a grade on CinemaScore.
Rounding out the top five at the domestic box office last weekend were Columbia Pictures' "Bullet Train," which collected $3.3 million in its sixth weekend for a North American cumulative of $92.5 million; Paramount Pictures' "Top Gun: Maverick," which grossed $3.2 million in its 16th weekend; and Warner Bros.' "DC League of Super-Pets," which made $2.8 million in its seventh weekend for a North American cumulative of $85.4 million.
"Top Gun: Maverick" has earned $705.7 million in 16 weeks. It now stands as the fifth highest-grossing domestic film of all time, just behind "Avatar" and just ahead of "Black Panther," and is the biggest North American earner ever that is not part of a sci-fi or superhero franchise.
"This movie is putting down superhero numbers," Dergarabedian said.
More quiet weeks likely lie ahead before a surge of expected big earners, including "Halloween Ends" and "Black Adam," which arrive in October.
Soon after that, the sequel "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" kicks off the holiday box office season and an even bigger round of expectations.
Opening in wide release this weekend are TriStar Pictures' "The Woman King," UP2U Films' "Running the Bases," IFC Films' "God's Country" and A24's "Pearl."