“The Conjuring” brought horror movie fans out in droves Friday, screaming past industry expectations to run up $17 million at the box office while two big-budget openers fizzled.
Director James Wan’s low-budget and R-rated haunted house tale received an “A-‘ CinemaScore from first-night audiences and has an 85 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes – both unusually high for a horror movie. That, and the buzz from Friday’s big opening, gives it a good shot at bringing in $40 million over the three days for New Line and Warner Bros. That would double the production budget for the thriller, which stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.
The news wasn’t nearly as good for the three other wide openers, two of which were big-budget tentpole movies.
The Ryan Reynolds-Jeff Bridges supernatural thriller “R.I.P.D.” took in $4.7 million Friday, putting it on track for a $12 million weekend. That’s at the low end of expectations that were low to begin with and is a financial belly flop for Universal. The studio says the production budget was $130 million, but rivals say it’s higher. The critics savaged the tale of ghost cops and normally generous first-night audiences gave it just a “C+,” so word of mouth will be toxic.
The 3D family film “Turbo” took in $6.5 million Friday and is looking at around $21 million for the weekend, not the numbers DreamWorks Animation had hoped to see for its $135 million tale of a racing snail. It’s taken in roughly $16 million since opening Wednesday and distributor Fox is hoping it will gain momentum and hit $30 million for the five days.
“Red 2” doesn’t have a budget like those two – it’s reportedly $85 million – but Lionsgate’s Summit was hoping for better than Friday’s $6.3 million, which projects to an $18 million weekend. That under the debut of the original film, which opened to $21 million in October of 2010 and went on to take in nearly $200 million worldwide. The action comedy skews older, and the "B+" CinemaScore it received Friday should help it in the weeks to come.
“Turbo” was clearly hurt by ‘Despicable Me 2.” The box-office champ for two weeks running added $7.4 million Friday, which positions it for a $24 million third weekend and second place. The minion movie from Universal and Illiumination Entertainment is the highest-grossing animated film of he year domestically and crossed $500 worldwide this week.
Another holdover, Sony’s Adam Sandler comedy ‘Grown Ups 2,” was running third and has a shot at a $20 million second week after taking in $6.4 million Friday.
The news wasn’t good for “Pacific Rim,” which took in $3.2 million Friday and is looking at $15 million and a roughly 60 percent drop-off in its second week. Guillermo del Toro‘s giant robots epic has brought in $57 million domestically for Warner Bros.
The Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy comedy "The Heat” added $2.8 million Friday and is pacing for $9 million in its fourth week. Zombie thriller “World War Z” and Disney’s animated “Monsters University” round out the top ten, and will likely finish the weekend in the $5 million range.