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James Wan‘s supernatural horror pic The Conjuring — costing a mere $20 million to produce — stole the show on Friday as it opened to a spectacular $17 million for a projected weekend debut of $38.2 million, far more than expected.
The New Line and Warner Bros. pic received an A- CinemaScore, unusual for a horror film. The R-rated movie 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.
For Universal, the Friday box office delivered wildly different news.
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Just as Despicable Me 2 celebrated racing past $500 million worldwide, Robert Schwentke‘s action-comedy R.I.P.D. became the latest big-budget casualty at the summer box office, grossing a dismal $4.8 million to come in No. 6. for the day. Earning a C+ CinemaScore, R.I.P.D. is anticipating an abysmal $12.2 million weekend.
The $130 million movie, based on the comic book Rest in Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov, stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as deceased police officers who must protect the living from evil spirits who refuse to move on. Drawing comparisons to Men in Black, R.I.P.D. also stars Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker (who appears in Red 2 as well).
Universal can certainly withstand a box-office flop, considering the profits it will reap from summer hits Despicable 2, Fast & Furious 6 and The Purge. And once the studio realized R.I.P.D. was in trouble, it scaled back its marketing spend.
R.I.P.D. isn’t the only box office disappointment of the weekend.
Despicable 2 is making life virtually impossible for new animated entry Turbo, from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox. The 3D family film, which opened Wednesday, grossed $6.5 million on Friday to place No. 3 and is anticipating a $21.4 million weekend for a five-day total of $31.1 million, one of the lowest showings ever for a DWA title.
Despicable 2 took in $7.4 million on Friday to place No. 2, where it’s supposed to stay for the weekend. The toon is now the No. 1 animated title of the year domestically, besting Monsters University.
Turbo — battling a glut of animated product — opens only two weeks after Despicable Me 2 and four weeks after Monsters University. 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, directed by David Soren and costing $135 million to produce, 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.
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The fourth new title of the weekend is Summit’s ensemble adult action pic Red 2. The movie grossed a so-so $6.4 million on Friday to essentially tie with holdover Grown Ups 2 for No. 4 and is anticipating an opening in the $18 million range, less than the $21.7 million earned by Red.
Summit made a major gamble in moving the sequel to the summer; Red launched in October.
Red 2‘s impressive cast includes Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The movie earned a B+ CinemaScore.
Schwentke directed 2010’s Red, which grossed nearly $200 million worldwide; Dean Parisot is in the director’s chair this time.
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