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‘The Conjuring 2’ Dominating Box Office with $39 Million

New Line’s “The Conjuring 2” is scaring up a solid $39 million at 3,343 sites in its opening weekend at the U.S. box office, handily beating launches by “Warcraft” and “Now You See Me 2,” estimates showed Saturday.

Universal’s fantasy-actioner  “Warcraft” is heading for a respectable $27 million at 3,400 locations while Lionsgate’s caper thriller “Now You See Me 2” should take in about $24 million at 3,232 venues.

The Conjuring 2” dominated moviegoing Friday with $16.4 million, followed by $10.7 million for “Warcraft” and $8.4 million for “Now You See Me 2.” Both sequels generated an A- Cinemascore among attendees, while “Warcraft” generated a B+. Reviews for “Warcraft” were more dismal, with just 27% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, while “Now You See Me 2” fared only slightly better with 37%.

Should the estimate hold for “The Conjuring 2,” the sequel will finish the frame down only 5% from the opening of 2013’s original horror-thriller — showing that moviegoers will offer strong support to franchises in their second incarnation. Concerns about the viability of sequels have risen in recent weeks following disappointing performances by “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“The Conjuring 2” brings back Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, who return as the husband-wife team of paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, three years after the original hauled in a stunning $318 million worldwide. The duo deals with the 1977 case of demonic possession of an 11-year-old British girl, played by Madison Wolfe.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore, said that the sequel is benefitting from the powerful performance of the original. ‘The brilliant first ‘Conjuring’ has become a staple on home video and has built a following that should manifest a terrific debut for this follow up,” he noted.

The U.S. performance of “Warcraft,” Legendary and Universal’s pricey video game adaptation, is coming in line with expectations that emerged in recent weeks. Performance in China has been stellar, by comparison, with $144 million in its first four days — or more than half of the worldwide gross of $277 million.

The opening weekend for “Now You See Me 2” will finish with a decline of about 18% from the 2013 original, which went on to gross more than $350 million worldwide. The sequel carries a $90 million budget, brings back Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo, and adds Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan.

“The Conjuring 2” has also opened impressively in 44 international markets with $19.5 million at roughly 9,800 screens with number one opening days in 25 markets, including all of Latin America, Australia and several Asian markets.

The sequel scored the biggest opening day ever for a horror film in 24 markets, including Australia, Mexico, Brazil and all of Latin America.

Mexico led the way with $1.6 million on nearly 3,100 screens with a dominating 78% of the top five films in its Thursday opening, then added $2 million more on Friday.

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