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“Don’t Breathe” became the latest in a string of hit horror movies over the weekend, while the indie romance “Southside With You” bested the boxing drama “Hands of Stone.”

Between back-to-school activities and vacations, mid-to-late August can be a time for studios to offload dreck. (See: “Ben-Hur.” Or don’t.) But “Don’t Breathe,” released by Sony Pictures Entertainment, received reviews from top critics that were 94 percent positive, according to Rotten Tomatoes,expanding the movie’s appeal beyond the core horror crowd. “Don’t Breathe,” from the Uruguayan writer-director Fede Alvarez, took in about $26.1 million at North American cinemas.

With a social-media-focused sales effort that started in March, “we really treated this film as an experience that you needed to see on the big screen,” Josh Greenstein, Sony’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution, said by phone on Sunday. Mr. Greenstein noted that Sony has now turned three low-budget summer films into moneymakers, with “The Shallows,” a horror movie, and the animated “Sausage Party” as the other two.

(Sony’s big-budget “Ghostbusters,” on the other hand, not so much.)

“Don’t Breathe,” which cost about $9.8 million to make, pushed “Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros.) into second place, ending that supervillain film’s three-week run at No. 1. “Suicide Squad” took in about $12.1 million over the weekend, for a new domestic total of $282.9 million, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. Worldwide, “Suicide Squad” has now taken in $636 million, according to Warner.[…]

(Source The New York Times)

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