(WTVO) — The Blumhouse evil-doll horror film “M3GAN” got off to a killer start this weekend, debuting with $30.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates.

Universal Pictures’ “M3gan,” about a robot companion built for a young girl after her parents are killed in a car accident, rode strong buzz and viral dancing memes to an above-expectations debut. In the low-budget slasher, starring Allison Williams, Blumhouse and producer James Wan crafted Hollywood’s first hit of the new year, likely spawning a new high-concept horror franchise.

Amie Donald, 12, is the ballerina and dancer who played the film’s AI robot doll.

New Zealand actress Amie Donald arrives for the premiere of Universal Pictures “M3GAN” at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, on December 7, 2022. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Donald was transformed into M3GAN by use of a remote-controlled mask designed by Morot FX Studios.

“I love that M3GAN was such a fun character to play and she really loves Katie and she loves to do stuff with her,” she said in a behind-the-scenes clip. “I don’t like that she kills people, but it’s fun to act like when she kills people.’

Photo: Universal Pictures

According to the Daily Mail, Donald is a New Zealand native who also appeared in the TV series Sweet Tooth, and represented Team New Zealand at the Dance World Cup in Portugal.

“Dancing does very much help because you need balance as a robot, because you don’t see robots wobbling around like a human,” she said. “Control and waiting around are two things that are very important that come from dance that I can use in acting.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.