“The Curse of La Llorona,” the latest entry in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” universe, conjured $2.75 million from Thursday preview showings, while “Breakthrough,” a faith-based offering from Fox-Disney, brought in $1.5 million from its second day of screenings.
“La Llorona’s” haul tops recent horror counterparts “Pet Sematary” and “Escape Room,” which each took in $2.3 million in previews.
The two films are hoping to dominate the Easter and Passover holiday box office, but they face stiff competition from “Shazam!,” the tongue-in-cheek superhero flick that has topped charts for two weekends in a row. The domestic haul of “Shazam!” stands at $104 million.
“Breakthrough,” which is the first 20th Century Fox film to be released by Disney since it wrapped its deal to buy most of the studio’s assets, already got a jump on the weekend, opening on Wednesday. It is expected to earn between $13 million to $20 million from 2,700 theaters during its first five days of release and has brought in $3.4 million over its first two days. The pic stars Chrissy Metz, of “This Is Us” fame, as a mother who turns to God to help her get through her son’s accident on an icy lake. Roxann Dawson directed the movie, which was produced by DeVon Franklin (“Miracles From Heaven,” “Heaven Is for Real,”) and executive produced by NBA star Stephen Curry. Topher Grace and Josh Lucas round out the cast. The movie, which carries a $14 million price tag, is aimed at the same religious audiences who turned “Heaven Is for Real” into a big hit when it opened in Easter of 2014.
“The Curse of La Llorona,” a standalone movie set in the “Conjuring” universe, is expected to make between $15 million and $20 million when it expands to 3,400 venues. The pic is based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, a figure whose grief over her lost children causes her to sow havoc. Critics hated “La Llorona,” but horror fans are impervious to reviews.
“Penguins,” a documentary about the titular arctic residents, grossed $456,000 on Thursday. The film has reeled in $956,000 since debuting on Wednesday. It is expected to generate between $5 million to $7 million from 1,800 screens in its first five days of release.