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‘The Conjuring 2’ Summons Box Office Victory With $40.4 Million

”Warcraft“ tanks with $24.4 million, ”Now You See Me 2“ makes $23 million

Moviegoers weren’t afraid of no ghosts this weekend as New Line Cinema’s “The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist” easily topped the box office with $40.4 million from 3,343 locations.

The horror sequel surpassed expectations of approximately $37 million, beating estimates by more than $3 million.

A strong performer, given its production budget of just above $40 million, the movie came scarily close the $41 million made by the original “Conjuring” — a surprise hit when it opened to in 2013.

Universal and Legendary’s video game movie, “Warcraft,” came in just shy of estimates with $24.4 million for second place. The action film beat Lionsgate’s “Now You See Me 2,” which earned $23 million.

“The Conjuring 2,” distributed by Warner Bros., got off to a great start on Friday, bringing in $16.4 million.  “Warcraft” grossed $10.7 million on Friday, beating out “Now You See Me 2,” which earned $8.4 million.

The second movie in “The Conjuring” series boasts a solid 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and A- from moviegoers surveyed by CinemaScore.

Like the original, the movie stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, and follows the couple across the Atlantic to help rid a London family of a dangerous spirit haunting their home. James Wan returned to direct.

Made for a whopping $160 million by director by Duncan Jones (the late David Bowie‘s son), “Warcraft” was expected to take in approximately $25 million from 3,400 theaters this weekend in North America.

The film wasn’t expected to perform domestically, though it has already had an impressive run internationally with more than $279 million in overseas box office grosses. As of Thursday, “Warcraft” had earned a record $90 million-plus in China, marking the biggest Thursday of all time in the country.

The film, starring Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper and Paula Patton, currently holds a dismal score of 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ CinemaScore.

The third opener this weekend is Lionsgate’s star-packed “Now You See Me 2,” which came in shy of expectations of $24 million. The original “Now You See Me” cleared $29.4 million during its 2013 weekend debut.

The film features returning cast members Jesse EisenbergMark RuffaloWoody HarrelsonDave Franco and Morgan Freeman, as well as newcomers Daniel RadcliffeLizzy Caplan and Michael Caine, and follows the continuing adventures of the Four Horsemen.

Critics have not been enthusiastic. “Now You See Me 2” has a score of 36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, 13 points lower than its predecessor. But its A- CinemaScore shows audiences were still excited to see it.

The Top Five:

1. “The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist” (New Line/Warner Bros.) — $40.4 million in Week 1 ($40.4 million total)
2. “Warcraft” (Legendary/Universal) — $24.4 million in Week 1 ($24.4 million total)
3. “Now You See Me 2” (Lionsgate) — $23 million in Week 1 ($23 million total)
4. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” (Paramount) — $14.8 million in Week 2 ($61 million total)
5. “X-Men: Apocalypse” (20th Century Fox) — $10 million in Week 3 ($136.4 million total)