‘The Conjuring’ Could Hit $40M After Scary Good Friday at Box Office

Low-budget horror film takes in $17M Friday; "R.I.P.D" is DOA and "Turbo" can't get untracked

“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.

Also read: How 'The Conjuring' Propelled Director James Wan From Torture Porn to Vin Diesel

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.

Also read: Ryan Reynolds-Jeff Bridges' 'R.I.P.D.' Set to Kill Universal's Summer Hot Streak

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.

Also read: 'Turbo' Aims to Break DreamWorks Animation's Box-Office Addiction

“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.