Box Office Guru Wrapup: The Conjuring Scares Up Biggest Horror Debut of 2013
Plus, Turbo takes third, and R.I.P.D. lurches into seventh.
This weekend, following four consecutive frames of animated sequels ruling the North American box office, horror fans returned with a vengeance powering the new supernatural thriller The Conjuring to a number one opening over a crowded weekend that saw four new releases debut in wide release. The R-rated spookfest grossed a sensational $41.5M from 2,903 locations for a sizzling $14,306 average.
The marketing campaign was chilling, reviews were very positive, and social media buzz was red hot going into the weekend, making it a must-see for fright fans who have had almost nothing scary all summer to rally behind. Studio research showed that females led the way with 53% of the audience while 59% were over 25. The CinemaScore grade was an A- which was exceptionally good for a fright flick. The Conjuring scored the biggest opening of 2013 for a pure horror film. Most R-rated films of this genre that open to over $40M are sequels or remakes.
Following its two-week rule of the mid-summer box office, toon giant Despicable Me 2 dropped to the runner-up spot but still held up well despite the entry of a new animated pic. The Universal smash fell 43% to an estimated $25.1M raising the cume to a sensational $276.2M to date. The overseas tally shot up to $308.4M putting the global haul at $584.6M.
Premiering in third place was the DreamWorks toon Turbo with an estimated $21.5M over the weekend and $31.2M over the five days since its Wednesday launch. The Fox release averaged $5,649 from 3,806 theaters across the Friday-to-Sunday period which was decent but not big. Competition from Gru and his Minions certainly took its toll. In fact audiences have spent a gargantuan $525M on the toon sequels Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University over the last month so the original snail tale Turbo found it hard to stand out.
Adam Sandler's comedy sequel Grown Ups 2 dropped 52% in its second weekend to an estimated $20M giving Sony $79.5M in ten days. A final gross in the neighborhood of $130M is likely for Sony, another solid hit for the funnyman.
Opening in fifth place was the Bruce Willis-led spy sequel Red 2 with an estimated $18.5M from 3,016 locations for a decent $6,134 average. That was a few notches below the $21.8M bow of the first Red from the weaker October 2010 play period. The summer slot is more high-profile, but it also features more competition and mature adults have had plenty of compelling action options over the past three months. Reviews for Red 2 were not too strong and the CinemaScore was a respectable B+. The Summit release played older with 67% being over 35 so it may have better legs than the typical summer action sequel. The gender split was close to even with 52% of the crowd being male.
Falling 57% in its second weekend was the sci-fi actioner Pacific Rim with an estimated $16M. The decline for the expensive pic was normal for this genre and the domestic cume of $68.2M should be able to rise to $100-110M by the end of the run for Warner Bros.
The summer's latest big-budget reject R.I.P.D. stumbled into seventh place with a weak opening of an estimated $12.8M and has no future ahead of it. The PG-13 actioner starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds averaged $4,475 from 2,852 locations and was given a thumbs down from critics and paying audiences alike. Reviews were awful and the CinemaScore was a troubling C+ which indicates poor buzz ahead.
Universal reported that R.I.P.D. cost $130M to produce, but the true cost was probably higher than that. The opening came in at less than half of the levels of the summer's other mega-priced action duds After Earth and The Lone Ranger which had debut weekends in the $27-30M range. Studio research showed an audience that was 53% male and 57% over 25. The sci-fi cop comedy never took off with moviegoers and consumer interest was always low since the promotional push first began.
Off only 33% was the hit cop comedy The Heat with an estimated $9.3M, down just 33%, for a $129.3M cume for Fox. Brad Pitt's World War Z followed with an estimated $5.2M, off 44%, for a $186.9M total to date. Two-time chart-topper Monsters University dropped 53% to an estimated $5M giving Disney a sizable $249M to date and $532.9M worldwide.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $174.9M which was down 21% from last year when The Dark Knight Rises opened at number one with $160.9M; and off 2% from 2011 when Captain America bowed to $65.1M.