Box Office: 'Conjuring 2' Scaring Up $38M Bow; 'Warcraft' Stalls in U.S.
Magic caper sequel 'Now You See Me 2' is the weekend's other newcomer; overseas, 'Warcraft' continues to do big business in China, earning $144.7 million in only four days.
New Line's The Conjuring 2 is easily spooking the competition at the North American box office, where the horror sequel is pacing well ahead of big-budget video game adaptation Warcraft and Now You See Me 2.
The chilling follow-up to the 2013 hit grossed $16.4 million Friday from 3,343 theaters for a weekend debut as high as $38 million-$39 million. At a time when many sequels are badly underperforming, the James Wan-directed film appears to be an exception, since it won't come in too far behind The Conjuring ($41.9 million).
Conjuring 2 sees Wan returning to the director's chair and Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprising their roles as real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. The movie boasts strong reviews and nabbed an A- CinemaScore, virtually unheard of for a horror title. Overseas, it's earned a strong $19.5 million from 44 markets since rolling out midweek. It opened No. 1 in 25 territories and scored the biggest opening day for a horror title in 24, including Australia and all of Latin America.
The first Conjuring likewise earned an A- CinemaScore, and was a formidable force at the box office in summer 2013, earning $318 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. (The follow-up cost double, or $40 million.)
Legendary and Universal's Warcraft hopes to come in No. 2 for the weekend with $26 million-$27 million, a poor showing considering the movie's net budget of $160 million. The adaptation of Activision Blizzard's video game grossed $8.6 million Friday from 3,400 locations, and received a B+ CinemaScore.
Still, even if Warcraft underperforms in its North American run, the foreign box office should push it into the black, led by China. On Saturday, its fourth day in release at the Chinese box office, Warcraft hit a record $144.7 million. And through Sunday, the movie's global gross should approach $300 million, including $105 million earned in other foreign markets outside of China.
In China — which accounts for 60 percent of the movie's total earnings so far — Warcraft is the fastest foreign title to cross 900 million rmb, narrowly besting Furious 7. It's certainly got every advantage, and is getting the widest release of all time. Legendary is now owned by China's Dalian Wanda, the largest exhibitor in the Middle Kingdom, while Warcraft boasts a raft of other Chinese investors.
Directed by Duncan Jones and starring Travis Fimmel and Paula Patton, Warcraft follows orc warriors looking for a new home for the peaceful inhabitants of Azeroth, who are threatened by the invaders.
Jon M. Chu's Now You See Me 2 wasn't too far behind Warcraft on Friday, grossing $8.4 million from 3,232 theaters to place No. 3. The Lionsgate/Summit movie, grabbing an A-CinemaScore, is projected to open in the $24 million range.
Now You See Me 2 is the follow-up to the 2013 Summit magic caper film that was a surprise overperformer, opening to $29.4 million domestically. It was one of the most profitable films of the summer that year, whipping up $351.7 million globally.
The sequel, costing $90 million to make, stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan. Now You See Me 2 has grossed $15.2 million to date overseas.
Two other sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and X-Men: Apocalypse, round out the top five. TMNT2 is expected to tumble 60 percent in its second weekend to $14 million-plus for a domestic total in the $60 million range.
Apocalypse, now in its third weekend, is on course to earn just shy of $10 million for a domestic total of roughly $136 million through Sunday.
June 10, 12:45 p.m. Updated with weekend estimates.
June 11, 7:20 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers and revised weekend estimates.