Box Office: ‘Conjuring 2’ to Ward Off ‘Warcraft,’ ‘Now You See Me 2’

The Conjuring 2
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“The Conjuring 2” should cast a powerful enough spell to ward off “sequelitis,” the phantom plague that is infecting Hollywood’s biggest franchises this summer.

The horror film is eyeing a debut of more than $35 million, which should be enough to keep the weekend’s other newcomers, “Warcraft” and “Now You See Me 2,” at bay. That’s below the first film’s $41 million opening, but still represents a solid result for Warner Bros., the studio behind the $40 million New Line production.

“The Conjuring 2” reunites director James Wan with Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, who return as a husband and wife team of paranormal investigators. This time the duo travel across the pond to get the skinny on a haunted house just north of London. The time zone has changed, but the 1970s backdrop and Farmiga and Wilson’s disco-ready clothing remain. New Line will debut the film in 3,343 locations.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2’ Disappoints: Does Hollywood Have a Sequel Problem?

There’s something far scarier than whatever is keeping real estate prices low in the English countryside. Studio executives’ collective blood pressure is rising as one major film series after another falters or falls flat. In relatively short order, pricey follow-ups such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” have all stumbled or flopped at the box office. That’s bad news for an industry that has grown reliant on tentpole franchises to hold up their film slates, and its left some analysts and industry folk questioning whether or not the movie business is returning to the well too many times, leaving consumers hungry for originality.

“The Conjuring 2” will have some company as it battles this existential threat  (which naysayers are calling a manufactured media narrative). It’s a problem also facing Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2.” The thriller about a team of illusionists brings back original gang members such as Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Mark Ruffalo, and adds Daniel Radcliffe to the mix. It cost more than $90 million to make and is looking at an opening of roughly $23 million (which is a drop from the $29 million debut of the first movie in 2013). “Now You See Me 2” will premiere across approximately 3,200 screens.

Then there’s “Warcraft.” Legendary and Universal’s video game adaptation has developed a reputation as a troubled production. Partly because its warrior creatures look like “Fraggle Rock” outcasts and partly due to its $160 million price tag. Despite the mixed buzz, foreign audiences have cottoned to the fantasy adventure. After three weeks of international release, “Warcraft” has racked up roughly $75 million internationally, and is resonating particularly strongly in countries such as Russia, France- and Germany.

It’s also looking like a monster in China, having generated $20 million in advance ticket sales prior to its Wednesday premiere. There is speculation that “Warcraft” could end its first five days in the People’s Republic with more than $100 million in receipts. That should go a long way towards cushioning the film from a mediocre domestic launch. “Warcraft” is eyeing a $25 million stateside debut when it opens across 3,396 North American theaters.

Though movie theater owners will no doubt be happy to see crowds show up for “The Conjuring 2” after a few rough weekends, true salvation won’t arrive until “Finding Dory” opens on June 17. Disney and Pixar’s animated follow-up to 2003’s “Finding Nemo” is projected to rack up more than $115 million when it premieres,  washing Hollywood’s fears about “sequelitis” out to sea.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 13

Leave a Reply


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: Logo

You are commenting using your 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. Seether says:

    Everyone knows the Hikikomori’s will wait for the Warcraft download/stream. Interact with people or play more MMORPG? You should know the answer to this already.

  2. Ben Talos says:

    You think it will ward of a movie like Warcraft, good family action and fun. Why do you guys always get it so ridiculously wrong then act all shocked when movies panned by critics are most popular. Could it possibly be because critics are more interested in telling people what they should enjoy, and try to make people feel guilty about films critics dont like ? If Warcraft had been about 2 guys sat down talking for 2 hours with a random gay sex scene, and a woman beating up a man. you critics would love it. But real people dont want to watch it.

    • agressively redundant says:

      You know, Ben, on the internet, I’ve seen “tons” of people saying that they want to see Warcraft. In the real world, you know, “outside” if you haven’t heard of it, I’ve met exactly one person who actually wants to see Warcraft. It’s a success internationally, but don’t bet on it being a mainstream hit. People have better things to do with their time than watch a crummy video game movie.

    • nobody important says:

      “critics are always wrong and audiences are always right.” that is an extremely naive and idiotic thing to say. film critics are people too. they evaluate the film on their own personal merits. you don’t have to listen to critics. you can just go to anything you want. but they’re there for the audience, not for some preconceived notion about “should” enjoy. they like to think their audience has a brain, but clearly, by your post, they really don’t and critics should probably stop wasting their time on people like you.

  3. HandfulofStars says:

    The well has run dry. Remakes and sequels dominate the movies and TV. Swear to God, they try to tamper with the Thin Man series, I’m using my flat screen for a hockey net.

  4. Cass says:

    Finding Dory is in no way a sequel as you group it with those others Brent.
    It’s been over a decade. Stop being a lazy writer.

  5. LOL says:

    America has changed.

  6. Jimmy Green says:

    where are the talented screen writers? no screenplays worth filming?

  7. Don't Mind Me Now says:

    The lesson to Hollywood is this: don’t make sequels to widely disliked movies, regardless of whether they made money. Just because audiences flocked to Alice in Wonderland doesn’t mean they liked it enough to see a sequel. Same with TMNT. Saddled with bad press, X-Men: Apocalypse escaped annihilation only because of how much audiences enjoyed the last three (First Class, Wolverine 2013 and Days of Future Past), but its mixed reception puts its own sequel in jeopardy. The Conjuring, by contrast, is one of the most well-liked horror movies in decades, and Finding Nemo is now a children’s classic. It’s a matter of audiences WANTING to go back and revisit these characters/storylines.

More Film News from Variety