6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: 'The Nun' Targets Terrifying $40M-$45M U.S. Debut
Following August hits Crazy Rich Asians and The Meg, the supernatural horror pic The Nun is poised to deliver Warner Bros. another win as the fall season gets underway at the box office.
If tracking is correct, The Nun could earn $40 million to $45 million in its U.S. debut, a potential franchise best for the Conjuring universe of films if it comes in on the higher end. The movie is the fifth title in the modestly budgeted horror franchise, which has scared up a combined $1 billion-plus in global box-office receipts.
The Nun should have no trouble topping the chart and stealing the crown from Crazy Rich Asians, which has ruled the box office for three consecutive weekends.
Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun, set in 1952, tells the story of a novice nun (Taissa Farmiga) and a Catholic priest (Demian Bichir) who are dispatched to investigate the mysterious suicide of a nun at a monastery in Romania.
The Nun is a spinoff of The Conjuring 2, which starred Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga (the older sister of Taissa) as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Conjuring debuted to $41.9 million domestically in 2013, followed by $40.4 million for the 2016 sequel.
Conjuring spinoff Annabelle debuted to $37.1 million in 2014, while Annabelle: Creation launched to $35.1 million in fall 2017.
The Nun cost a net $22 million to produce. Bonnie Aarons co-stars.
A pair of films will open opposite the horror movie, including STXfilms' Peppermint, a female-led action pic starring Jennifer Garner. Tracking services have Peppermint debuting in the $10 million-$13 million range.
Filmmaker Pierre Morel, whose credits include the hit action flick Taken, directed Peppermint, a thriller centering on a once-happy suburban wife and mother (Garner) whose life is upended when her husband and daughter are murdered by a powerful local drug cartel. A decade later, Garner's character seeks revenge against any and all involved in the crime, including the lawyers, cops and dirty judges who helped the killers go free. John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba, Annie Ilonzeh, Jeff Hephner and Pell James co-star.
The Nun is set to unfurl in more than 3,800 theaters, while Peppermint will play in roughly 2,800 locations.
Pure Flix's faith-based God Bless the Broken Road, meanwhile, will open in far fewer theaters, at roughly 1,200 cinemas. From God's Not Dead helmer Harold Cronk, the movie is loosely based on the Rascal Flatts song "Bless the Broken Road" and follows a widowed mother (Lindsay Pulsipher) whose faith is tested after her husband is killed in Afghanistan. Two years later, she meets a NASCAR driver (Andrew W. Walker) relegated to community service after a reckless crash.
God Bless the Broken Road is tracking to debut to $4 million.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Film Movement's I Am Not a Witch, which boasts a rare 100 percent aggregated score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, marks the feature directorial debut of the Zambia-born Welsh helmer Rungano Nyoni. I Am Not a Witch tells the story of a young African girl banished from her village for alleged witchcraft. Leading the cast is newcomer Maggie Mulubwa.