image sourceUniversal/MGMimage captionYahya Abdul-Mateen II stars in the latest Candyman feature film

Candyman director Nia DaCosta has made history by becoming the first black woman to have a film open at number one on the North American box office chart.

The director's reimagining of the 1992 horror made $22m (£16m) in its first weekend in US and Canadian cinemas.

That is almost as much as the film – co-written and produced by Get Out's Jordan Peele – actually cost to make.

Based on a Clive Barker story, the film is named after a hook-handed killer who has spawned a fearsome urban legend.

The new film stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a visual artist who comes to regret basing an exhibit on the Candyman myth.

DaCosta only had one feature credit, 2018's Little Woods, when she was invited to direct the latest instalment in the horror franchise.

image sourceGetty Imagesimage captionDaCosta (centre) previously directed Lily James and Tessa Thompson in Little Woods

The 31-year-old is currently working on The Marvels, the sequel to the 2019 Marvel comic book blockbuster Captain Marvel.

Candyman is the latest horror release to perform strongly in US cinemas as the sector recovers from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

A Quiet Place Part II was another scary success story, having made more than half of its $296m (£215m) worldwide haul from North American audiences.

  • Many film fans still staying away from cinemas
  • Video nasty film Censor explores power of horror

Box office analysts said Candyman surpassed their expectations for an R-rated film opening in the Covid-19 era.

It performed better than had been expected even with Hurricane Ida depressing attendance in some southern US states.

Candyman also bucked a recent trend by launching only in cinemas, without a simultaneous release on streaming sites.

Films that have adopted a dual-release strategy, such as Black Widow and The Suicide Squad, have seen takings decline steeply in their second weekend in cinemas.

Candyman's success came at the expense of action comedy Free Guy, which slipped to second place with weekend takings of $13.6m (£9.8m).

Canine cartoon Paw Patrol: The Movie also dropped down a place, making $6.6m(£4.8m) in its second weekend in North American picture houses.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected].