Weekend Box Office: Conjuring 2 Is Number One, While Warcraft Makes History In China

The Conjuring 2 was the number one movie at the US box office this weekend, earning an estimated $40.35 million in domestic box office, just down from the original’s $41.8 back in 2013. To date, James Wan has directed the first Saw movie, both Insidii, and The Conjuring 1 and 2 — all wildly successful franchises — and took on Furious 7 in his spare time, which went on to gross $1.5 billion worldwide. So, you know, not bad, for James Wan.

[The Conjuring 2] earned an “A-” from Cinemascore. It played 52% female, 19% under-18, and 57% over 25 years old. [Forbes]

After high-profile sequel failures like The Huntsman and Alice Through The Looking Glass, Conjuring 2‘s success threw some cold water on the idea that “sequels are over,” or whatever hyperbole has been going around. The more likely (and obvious to the point of being zen) truth is that audiences like sequels fine, just as long as it’s a sequel to a movie they wanted to see a sequel to. It doesn’t matter how much money Snow White And The Huntsman made if no one really liked it much. And with a(n exceedingly generous…) 48% on RottenTomatoes and a B Cinemascore, you could certainly make the case for that. The phenomenon at play here is that studios have a tendency to look at box office numbers to the exclusion of all other factors (like, say, common sense) when they’re greenlighting sequels.

Warcraft also opened this weekend, with the Duncan Jones-directed computer game adaptation earning $24.356 million domestically on a film with a $160 million budget. Which sounds disastrous, and would be, if not for the fact that’s also grossed $285 million worldwide, including $156 million from China alone, where it’s only been out for five days. That’s more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Batman V Superman made there in their entire runs.

The film’s audience skewed largely male (69 percent), with a majority of moviegoers considering themselves to be “heavy gamers” according to comScore’s PostTrak survey. [EntertainmentWeekly]

Does that mean the svelte gamers stayed home? Discuss.

Just behind Warcraft in domestic box office was Now You See Me 2, the frustratingly-named sequel to 2013’s Now You See Me (A- Cinemascore, 49% Rottentomatoes, $29m opening). The sequel (A- Cinemascore, 36% RottenTomatoes) grossed $23 million domestic in its opening weekend, on a budget that was reportedly in the $90-100 million range. Those are some expensive illusions. The original ended up with $117 million domestic and $350 million worldwide.

The Lionsgate flick attracted an evenly split demographic, as 51 percent of the film’s opening weekend audience was male with the remaining 49 percent being female. The film also attracted an even 50/50 split of audiences above and below the age of 25. [EntertainmentWeekly]

Next week brings us another sequel, Finding Dory, though this time to a much-beloved property, and Central Intelligence, starring The Rock and Kevin Hart, which one on hand sounds like a remake of Larry The Cable Guy in Delta Farce and Anthony Hopkins/Chris Rock vehicle Bad Company, but on the other has possibly the greatest silly pun tagline ever conceived.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 The Conjuring 2 $40,350,000 $12,070 $40,350,000
2 Warcraft $24,356,000 $7,164 $24,356,000
3 Now You See Me 2 $23,025,000 $7,124 $23,025,000
4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $14,800,000 (-58.1) $3,635 $61,039,000
5 X-Men: Apocalypse $10,000,000 (-56.2)
$2,789 $136,374,000
6 Me Before You $9,210,000 (-50.8) $3,335 $36,822,000
7 The Angry Birds Movie $6,700,000 (-34.4) $2,173 $98,169,000
8 Alice Through the Looking Glass $5,544,000 (-51.0) $1,913 $62,437,000
9 Captain America: Civil War $4,300,000 (-45.1) $2,047 $396,857,000
10 The Jungle Book $2,721,000 (-38.8) $1,819 $352,649,000

[Chart via ScreenCrush]