Box Office: 'Conjuring 2' Soars to $40.4M; 'Warcraft' Bombs in U.S. With $24.4M
But the game isn't over for 'Warcraft,' which opens to a massive $156 million in China; 'Now You See Me 2' places No. 3 in North American debut with $23 million.
New Line and Warner Bros.' spooky The Conjuring 2 easily beat big-budget video game adaptation Warcraft and Now You See Me 2 at the North American box office over the weekend with a stellar $40.4 million debut from 3,343 theaters, the largest horror opening since the first Conjuring in July 2013 and the biggest ever for the month of June.
At a time when many sequels are badly underperforming, the James Wan-directed film is proving an exception, placing not far behind The Conjuring ($41.9 million). It's also impressing overseas, grossing $50 million from 44 markets for an early worldwide total of $90.4 million and scoring the top start of all time for a horror title in 26 markets, including Mexico ($9.1 million), Brazil ($3.7 million) and Australia ($2.7 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. This time, the couple are enlisted by the Catholic Church to help a family in England. The movie boasts strong reviews and nabbed an A- CinemaScore, virtually unheard of for a horror title.
The first Conjuring likewise earned an A- CinemaScore, and was a formidable force at the box office, earning $318 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. (The follow-up cost double, or $40 million.)
Legendary and Universal's Warcraft bombed in its U.S. debut with $24.4 million from 3,400 locations despite a hefty net budget of $160 million. The adaptation of Activision Blizzard's video game earned a B+ CinemaScore. Fans of the video game turned out in force; 55 percent of the audience was male, while 53 percent were game loyalists.
In terms of its financial fate, the story is far from over for Warcraft. The foreign box office should push it into the black, led by China. Warcraft posted a five-day debut of $156 million at the Chinese box office, putting its foreign tally at $261.7 million and global total at $286.1 million through Sunday. (The tentpole likely will need to earn $450 million or more to break even.)
"We are extraordinarily happy and proud with the global results. Every piece is a part of the whole," said Universal domestic distribution president Nick Carpou.
According to Legendary, Warcraft scored the top opening of all time in China for a foreign title, beating 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. (China's tally accounts for 55 percent of the film's total earnings to date). Elsewhere offshore, Warcraft took in $29.8 million from 51 markets this weekend for a non-China foreign total of $105.7 million.
In China, Warcraft 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 magic caper sequel Now You See Me 2 placed No. 3 in North America with a solid $23 million from 3,232 theaters. That compares to $29.4 million for Now You See Me, a highlight of summer 2013 upon earning $351.7 million globally. The Lionsgate/Summit sequel, which nabbed an A- CinemaScore, wasn't cheap to make, however, sporting a production budget of $90 million.
Now You See Me 2 stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan. The follow-up has grossed $22.8 million overseas to date for a global total of $45.8 million.
Two other sequels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and X-Men: Apocalypse, rounded out the top five. TMNT2 tumbled nearly 60 percent in its second weekend to $14.8 million for a domestic total of $61 million for Paramount. Overseas, the turtles took in $13.3 million from 44 markets for a foreign cume of $55.3 million and global total of $116.3 million.
Apocalypse, now in its third weekend, earned an estimated $10 million for a domestic total of $136 million-plus.