James Wan‘s supernatural horror pic The Conjuring is easily winning the crowded North American box-office race, while Robert Schwentke‘s R.I.P.D. appears D.O.A., according to early Friday returns.
The Conjuring, from New Line and Warner Bros., could even cross $30 million for the weekend, an outstanding number considering the film only cost $20 million to produce. The R-rated pic stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators who help a family terrorized by a dark force. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor also star.
On the other end of the spectrum, Universal’s R.I.P.D., which cost $130 million to produce, may only open in the $9 million to $12 million range. Based on the comic book Rest in Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov, the movie stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as deceased police officers who must protect the living from evil spirits who refuse to move on. The movie, drawing comparisons to Men in Black, also stars Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker (who appears in Red 2 as well).
Opening somewhere in between are the weekend’s two other new entries, DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox’s 3D animated Turbo and Summit’s Red 2. Both films are on pace to gross in the $20 million range for the weekend.
That would put Turbo‘s five-day debut at a subdued $30 million, less than hoped for and one of the lowest openings for a DWA title (the toon opened Wednesday).
Turbo — battling a glut of animated product — could lose to Universal’s megahit Despicable Me 2 for the weekend itself. Having opened two weeks ago, Despicable 2 has already grossed $250 million domestically and $500 million worldwide.
Fox is counting on Turbo to have strong legs, noting that it received a glowing A CinemaScore and an A+ from moviegoers under age 18.
The film, which cost $135 million to produce and was directed by David Soren, is about an ordinary garden snail whose dream of racing in the Indianapolis 500 comes true. Reynolds voices the title role; Paul Giamatti, Snoop Dogg, Michael Pena, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez and Samuel L. Jackson also lend their voices. DWA is playing up the fact that Turbo is an original story.
In terms of R.I.P.D., Universal can certainly withstand a box-office disappointment, considering its otherwise outstanding summer. In addition to Despicable 2, Fast & Furious 6 has earned $704.4 million worldwide.
Universal also minimized its risk by scaling back on its marketing campaign for R.I.P.D.