Last year, Warner Bros. gave the box office a huge post-summer jolt with New Line’s remake of “It,” which set a September opening weekend record with $123.4 million. Now, they’ve posted September’s second-highest opening with New Line’s “The Nun,” which earned $53.5 million this weekend from 3,876 screens.
It’s the continuation of what was a very successful August for WB with “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Meg,” both of which are also in this weekend’s top five at No. 2 and No. 4 respectively. In fact, this is the first time in over a quarter-century that a studio has held the top two spots on the weekend charts for four consecutive weekends.
What’s also particularly interesting about the success of “The Nun” is that in an era where Rotten Tomatoes can make or break a film’s box office success, this “Conjuring” spinoff has shown a “Transformers”-esque ability to bring in audiences despite weak reviews.
The film has an RT score of just 28 percent, and opening night audiences, many of whom were “Conjuring” fans, gave the film a C on CinemaScore. By comparison, last year’s “Conjuring” installment, “Annabelle: Creation,” had a 70 percent RT score and a B on CinemaScore.
Regardless, “The Nun” now boasts a worldwide launch total of $131 million, with $77.5 million made in 60 overseas markets this weekend including $10.7 million from Mexico, the top overseas market. That gives this film the biggest global start of any “Conjuring” installment.
It will remain to be seen whether such poor word-of-mouth will catch up to “The Nun” next weekend and trigger a big drop off or if “Conjuring” fans will keep ticket sales afloat; but for now, WB’s reign over the end-of-summer box office period continues unabated. As previously noted, “Crazy Rich Asians” came in second this weekend with $13.6 million, pushing its total to $136 million and setting it up to become, at least for now, WB’s highest domestic grosser this year. “The Meg” took in $6 million to bring its total to $131 million.
In between those two holdovers was STX’s “Peppermint,” which hit the top end of tracker expectations with an estimated $13.2 million from 2,980 screens, less than a half-million behind “Crazy Rich Asians.” Though critics panned the film with a 14 percent RT score, it won over audiences with a B+ on CinemaScore.
Sony/Screen Gems’ “Searching” expanded to 2,009 screens in its third weekend and completes the top five with $4.5 million, bringing its total to $14.3 million. Outside the top ten, Entertainment Studios’ “God Bless The Broken Road” opened to just $1.5 million from 1,272 locations.