The Conjuring

Fox-DWA's 'Turbo' could sneak up from behind in tight three-day race

Overcrowding has been this summer’s cross to bear — and with four wide releases, added to strong holdovers, the unrelenting pace at the domestic box office is expected to continue this weekend.

But casualties could include Universal’s $130 million sci-fi comedy, “R.I.P.D.,” which is tracking in the high teens. The Ryan Reynolds-Jeff Bridges starrer is poised to end Universal’s winning streak this summer, after “Fast and Furious 6,” “The Purge” and “Despicable Me 2,” which again could vie for top placement this weekend in the low-$20 millions. Pic’s cumed nearly $250 million domestically so far.

However, Warner Bros.-New Line’s $20 million scarer, “The Conjuring,” looks more likely to win the weekend, with a potential $25 million three-day opening.

Nipping at “The Conjuring’s” heels is Fox-DreamWorks Animations’ snail-themed toon “Turbo,” with the title snail character voiced by Reynolds. The $135 million-budgeted film stands to earn one of the lowest three-day openings for a DWA film, tracking at just north of $24 million from Friday to Sunday. Last year, “Rise of the Guardians” grossed $23.8 million during its first three days domestically.

“Turbo,” which earned $5.6 million on Wednesday, should see a five-day haul in the mid-$30 millions.

“Turbo’s” projected soft debut is a result of an exceptionally crowded family film scene, including “Despicable Me 2,” which is still doing sizable business, and Sony’s “Grown Ups 2,” which likely will see a larger-than-usual drop in its second frame.

Also bowing wide this weekend, Lionsgate-Summit’s comedy-action pic “Red 2″ is expected to gross just north of $20 million. The first installment of the adult-skewing film opened in October 2010 to $21 million in October 2010 and wound up cuming more than $90 million domestically. But choosing a summer berth in a crowded playing field will make it difficult for “Red 2″ to reach a similar Stateside cume.

With “R.I.P.D.,” Universal is bracing for its first bomb this year: Even overseas prospects seem limited, given growing bad buzz Stateside. U bows the film day-and-date in only ten markets, with another push starting next weekend.

Much better buzz is circling “The Conjuring,” which seems poised to overperform this weekend.

The scarer, which stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson and is directed by “Saw” helmer James Wan, has been generating solid reviews (even though horror films tend to be review-proof), and exit polls have been through the roof. In fact, Warners decided last to move the pic from January to summer based on those glowing early audience reactions.

At the specialty box office, Roadside Attractions launches Kristin Wiig’s dramedy “Girl Most Likely” at 353 locations, while Magnolia’s controversial doc “Blackfish,” about the practice of keeping killer whales in captivity, bows at four.

The Weinstein Co. expands last weekend’s per-screen champ, “Fruitvale Station,” to 34 engagements, up from seven. As of Wednesday, the film has collected north of $500,000 domestically.

Bowing

Film (Distributor): Locations

  • Turbo (Fox): 3,806
  • Red 2 (Lionsgate): 3,016
  • The Conjuring (WB): 2,903
  • R.I.P.D. (Universal): 2,849
  • Girl Most Likely (Roadside): 353
  • Blackfish (Magnolia): 4

Expanding

  • Fruitvale Station (Weinstein): 7-34

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