The DreamWorks thriller tops the chart with $24.5m while Fox Searchlight’s awards contender The Birth Of A Nation opens wide with a soft $7m.

The Girl On The Train led a slow weekend at the North American box office – as Hurricane Matthew affected attendance in several southeastern states – with a three-day gross of $24.5m from 3,144 theatres.

Based on the popular Paula Hawkins novel and starring Emily Blunt, the DreamWorks production, distributed by Universal under its new deal with DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, performed at the lower end of its expected range after getting a 44% score from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

The Birth Of A Nation, director Nate Parker’s drama about an 1831 slave rebellion, opened in sixth place on the chart with $7m (also at the lower end of its predicted range) from 2,105 theatres.

Picked up by Fox Searchlight after its premiere at Sundance, the film has benefitted from awards buzz and strong reviews (leading to a 79% Rotten Tomatoes score) but has recently been hit by the controversy surrounding a 1999 rape case involving Parker, who was acquitted in 2001.

The weekend’s other new release, children’s comedy Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life, opened in seventh place with an estimated $6.9m. Based on the first of a series of novels from James Patterson, the CBS Films/Lionsgate release got a 59% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Last weekend’s top film, Fox’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, took an estimated $15.1m, down 48% from its debut, for a total of $51.2m and second place on the chart.

Lionsgate’s Deepwater Horizon, which also made its debut last weekend, was down 43% to $11.5m, for a total of $38.3m, and Relativity’s Masterminds fell 38% in its second weekend to $4.1m, for a $12.8m total.

The top 12 releases combined for $95.5m in box office, representing a 10% drop from last weekend and a 13% drop from the comparable session in 2015, when Fox’s The Martian held strong at number one for a second weekend with $37m.

This week’s wide releases are: Warner Bros’ Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant; Universal’s comedy performance film Kevin Hart: What Now?; and Open Road’s action outing Max Steel.

Actual top 10 North America October 7-9, 2016
Film (Dist) / Conf wkd gross / Conf total to date
1 (-)
The Girl On The Train (Universal) Mr Smith Entertainment $24.5m -

2 (1) Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Fox) Fox International $15.1m $51.2m

3 (2) Deepwater Horizon (Lionsgate) Lionsgate International $11.5m $38.3m

4 (3) The Magnificent Seven (Columbia) Sony Pictures Releasing International/ MGM $9m $75.8m

5 (4) Storks (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Pictures Animation $8.3m $50m

6 (-) The Birth Of A Nation (Fox Searchlight) Fox International $7m -

7 (-) Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life (CBS Films/Lionsgate) CBS Films $6.9m -

8 (5) Sully (Warner Bros) Warner Bros Pictures International $5m $113.2m

9 (6) Masterminds (Relativity) $4m $12.8m

10 (7) Queen Of Katwe (Buena Vista) Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International $1.6m $5.4m