Box Office: ‘Conjuring 2’ Scores $40.4 Million Debut, ‘Warcraft’ Bombs (Domestically)

The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2” dominated the weekend box office, racking up an impressive $40.4 million to top “Now You See Me 2” and “Warcraft.”

The horror thriller cast a powerful enough spell to ward off Hollywood’s fears of “sequelitis.” The phantom plague has become a buzzy term among studio executives after a spate of follow-ups and spinoffs, such as “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” landed with a thud.

Quality appears to have helped “The Conjuring 2” succeed where other sequels faltered. The film received a solid 73% “fresh” rating on critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and enjoyed an A- CinemaScore.

“It starts with a really good movie,” said Jeff Goldstein, distribution executive vice president at Warner Bros., New Line’s corporate cousin. “Then you take an outstanding director like James Wan, returning to a genre that he just owns, and match it with a perfect release date and you blaze a new trail.”

Related

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Does Hollywood Have a Sequel Problem?

In addition to Wan, whose horror bona fides have also been burnished with his work in the “Insidious” and “Saw” franchises,” the second “Conjuring” brought back Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as married paranormal investigators who travel to a haunted house outside of London.

The New Line release nearly matched the first “Conjuring’s” $41.9 million debut, but its $40 million price tag is nearly double what its predecessor cost to make. It made short work of the weekend’s other contenders. With “Conjuring 2” dominating ticket sales, Legendary and Universal’s “Warcraft” settled for second place with $24.4 million and Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2” took third place, debuting to $23 million.

In a less globalized business, “Warcraft’s” domestic debut would have been ruinous, given the video game adaptation’s $160 million production budget and the millions spent in marketing the film. However, “Warcraft” is getting a lift from foreign audiences, particularly moviegoers in China. The fantasy adventure has earned a scorching $156 million over its first four days in the People’s Republic.

“Now You See Me 2’s” domestic launch was respectable, but it failed to match the first film’s $29.4 million debut. Lionsgate spent more than $90 million on the sequel, which finds a band of illusionists tangling with an unethical tech baron. It sees original cast members such as Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson return and adds “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe to the mix. Internationally, “Now You See Me 2” picked up $22.8 million.

Richie Fay, Lionsgate’s domestic distribution co-president, said that he expected “Now You See Me 2” to show some endurance. The first film went on to make $117.7 million domestically, nearly four times its opening.

“The original performed well on home entertainment,” he noted. “It’s possible that the audience for this one could grow. People who may not have seen the first one theatrically might look forward to seeing it in theaters this time around.”

Even as moviegoers are sending mixed signals about their appetite for sequels and follow-ups, studios show no signs of abandoning their franchise obsession. Two sequels, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” rounded out the top five, earning $14.8 million and $10 million, respectively. The latest “Mutant Ninja Turtles” has grossed $61 million in two weeks, while the newest “X-Men” adventure has generated $136.4 million in three weeks.

The strong premieres of “Now You See Me 2” and “The Conjuring 2” would appear to allay concerns that sequels are at a saturation point. That narrative could be retired next weekend, after “Finding Dory,” a follow-up to 2003’s “Finding Nemo,” hits theaters. It is projected to kick off to more than $115 million, which would be the biggest debut for a Pixar release.

“It comes down to the movies,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “Whether it’s sequelitis or superhero fatigue, it’s the movies themselves. If a movie delivers, people will see it.”

In limited release, “De Palma,” a look at the career of “Carrie” and “Scarface” director Brian De Palma, picked up $30,856 from three locations.

Final numbers are still being tabulated, but it appears that ticket sales will be down more than 40% against difficult year-over-year comparisons. “Jurassic World” debuted over the same weekend in 2015, setting a new domestic record with its $208.8 million opening.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 10

Leave a Reply

10 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Fre says:

    The studio actually gets a tiny ratio of that China box office in Warcraft.

  2. STUDIOS CONJURING-UP BOMBS says:

    Studio heads are either clueless or in denial if they think it’s only or mainly big budget sequels that are flopping. Besides new film. WAR CRAFT, there’s GOD’S OF EGYPT, and THE FINEST HOURS which were both new films that flopped with massive budgets. Granted all other big budget flops such as DIVERGENT: ALLEGIANT and THE HUNTSMAN: WINTERS WAR, ALICE 2, the new X MEN APOCALYPSE, have all been follow-ups, but there are still just as many if not more flops than hits this year. And we are in the middle of June. That should be the main concern of studio leaders. 2016 is turning out to be a tough year, period.

    • therealeverton says:

      X-Men isn’t a flop. It can be called a disappointment, relative ti its previous film. However it is the 2nd (3rd if you count Deadpool) highest grosser in the X-Men series AND the best success of the series for film that doesn’t have the core original cast. The non core cast films (Not X-Men 1 to X-Men 3 and X-Men Days of Future Past) have a gross in the range of $350m to $415m and this film will take over $500m.

      Sure the film would have hoped, and arguably should have, to keep more of the gains made by DOFP, but it’ll end up with over $150m more than X-Men First /Class and probably around $100m more than The Wolverine so it remains above Average for X-Men in general and the best, by some distance, of those non core films.

      But yeah, there’s no problem with sequels. As ever some work and some don’t. A mixture of poor quality and unrealistic expectations haven’t helped a recent few.

  3. Nick says:

    Of course warcraft bombed. Who but the youngest of children want to see a cartoon with no story, weak characters, and that is so relentlessly ugly to look at?

More Film News from Variety

Loading