Entertainment & Arts

The Girl on the Train steams to top of US box office

Justin Theroux and Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train Image copyright Universal/AP
Image caption Emily Blunt stars alongside Justin Theroux in The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train has steamed ahead of its rivals to top the US box office on its opening weekend.

The thriller, starring Emily Blunt as an alcoholic trying to solve the mystery of a missing person, took $24.7m (£19.9m) - with 68% of the audience made up of women.

Last week's number one, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, made $15m (£12m) to take second place.

New entry The Birth of a Nation only made $7.1m (£5.7m).

The slave rebellion drama is written and directed by Nate Parker, who has faced recent media scrutiny over a historic rape trial and also stars in the film. It failed to make the top five in the North American box office.

On its opening night on Thursday, protesters held a silent vigil outside a Los Angeles cinema for victims of rape and sexual assault.

Recent media attention has been focused on Parker's acquittal for rape in 1999 and his accuser's subsequent suicide.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said he was not sure how the controversy affected the film's performance.

"It's hard to know, but considering the initial promise of the movie and all the positive talk about the film and its Oscar prospects, you would have figured that it would do more business," he said.

North American box office top five
1. The Girl on the Train ($24.7m)
2. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ($15m)
3. Deepwater Horizon ($11.8m)
4. The Magnificent Seven ($9.2m)
5. Storks ($8.5m)
Source: ComScore

The Girl on the Train, based on the Paula Hawkins novel, has had poor reviews - but Blunt's performance as central character Rachel, who observes the lives of others on her daily commute to Manhattan, has been praised.

Nick Carpou, president of domestic distribution for Universal, said the film's box office result was largely unaffected by Hurricane Matthew, which has hit parts of the US southeast.

There was another new entry in the top 10 for Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life, based on James Patterson's books about a prank-loving teenager.

It made $6.9 million (£5.6m).

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