Haunted house thriller stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson
"The Conjuring" is off to a strong start as the mid-budget haunted house film capitalized on sterling reviews and positive buzz to scare up $3.3 million duing Thursday night showings.
That compares favorably to the $3.4 million another summer horror film, "The Purge," generated on its first night of release. That low-budget shocker went on to gross more than $34 million during its opening weekend.
"The Conjuring" is expected to put up similar opening numbers this weekend. The Warner Bros. and New Line release stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson and was directed by James Wan ("Saw").
It was filmed for an economical $20 million and centers on a pair of paranormal investigators called in to check out strange doings at an old farm house. It will expand to more than 2,600 theaters this weekend.
Critics have embraced the film, and "The Conjuring" currently enjoys an 83 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those notices coupled with an effective marketing campaign that accentuates the myriad things that go bump in the night should help "The Conjuring" overcome a crowded field of new releases to emerge as the weekend's highest grossing film.
Also hitting theaters this week are DreamWorks Animation’s “Turbo," Summit’s “Red 2” and Universal’s “R.I.P.D.” Current champ “Despicable Me 2,” “Red 2” and “Turbo” are all expected to wind up in the $20 million range for the three-day period.
"R.I.P.D.," which carries a massive $130 million production budget, is looking to be one of the summer's biggest bombs. It is on pace to generate less than $15 million over the weekend. Cue the write-off.