Box Office Shocker: Low-Budget 'The Conjuring' Strides Past 'The Lone Ranger'
The $20 million horror pic is also scaring up more business in North America than Legendary Pictures' "Pacific Rim," underscoring Hollywood's summer of discontent for big-budget offerings.
Director James Wan's The Conjuring reached $86.8 million domestic ticket sales on Monday, surpassing high-priced tentpoles The Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim.
The movie's surprisingly strong showing is one of the biggest success stories of the summer -- a victory for Toby Emmerich's New Line and parent company Warner Bros. Its stellar performance upends the traditional notion that tentpoles are the primary profit generators in the summer months.
This season has seen a number of big-budget duds, including Disney's The Lone Ranger, which cost $250 million to make and has grossed $85.5 million domestically and $164.1 million worldwide to date. The Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer western, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, will result in a substantial write-down for Disney.
Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim, from Legendary Pictures and WB, is also a disappointment, although it has taken in more than The Lone Ranger, earning $85.2 million to date in North America and $225.2 million worldwide.
The Conjuring, the top-grossing horror pic of 2013 so far, has also done far more business domestically than White House Down ($70.8 million) and After Earth ($60 million).
Based on a real story, the film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators who help a family who has been haunted by a dark force. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor also star.
It's one of the few horror titles to receive an A- CinemaScore; generally speaking, horror scores lower.
The Conjuring, still early in its foreign run, has grossed $12 million to date overseas for a worldwide total of $98.9 million. It should cross the $100 million mark sometime on Tuesday.