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Box office hits and misses: ‘Warcraft’ gets spooked by ‘The Conjuring 2’

It appears that we have a new blockbuster horror franchise in Hollywood.

James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 debuted in theaters over the weekend to the tune of $40.3 million domestically, giving it the fourth-best opening of all time for a horror movie in the U.S. The sequel to Wan’s 2013 film about a married couple who help people terrorized by supernatural forces fell just $1.5 million shy of its predecessor’s opening weekend, but with many critics praising the film as a rare sequel that’s actually better than the original movie, it’s in a good position to have a strong run in theaters. (The first film, The Conjuring, earned more than $318 worldwide on a $20 million production budget.)

The box-office numbers were far less positive for Warcraft, director Duncan Jones’ long-awaited feature based on the video game franchise. The film earned just $24.3 million in U.S. theaters, giving it only the sixth-best opening for a film based on a video game so far — well below the studio’s hopes for a film that cost more than $160 million to make.

All is not lost for Warcraft, however, as the movie broke quite a few box-office records outside the U.S. The film set a new record for opening weekends in China, the second-largest movie market in the world, and has raked in more than $261 million already internationally. This means the film will almost certainly turn a profit for the studio despite negative reviews here in the U.S., but it’s uncertain how long its run will last with several high-profile releases on the horizon.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. The Conjuring 2 $40.3M $40.3M $90.3M
2. Warcraft $24.3M $24.3M $286.1M
3. Now You See Me 2 $23M $23M $45.8M
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $14.8M $61M $116.3M
5. X-Men: Apocalypse $10M $136.3M $478.4M
6. Me Before You $9.2M $36.8M $55.2M
7. The Angry Birds Movie $6.7M $98.1M $312M
8. Alice Through the Looking Glass $5.5M $62.4M $213.4M
9. Captain America: Civil War $4.3M $396.8M $1,142.3M
10. The Jungle Book $2.7M $352.6M $909.8M

The only other film to debut in the weekend’s top 10 movies was another sequel, Now You See Me 2. Poor reviews and a general absence of pre-release hype resulted in a $23 million debut for the sequel to Louis Leterrier’s surprisingly successful 2013 illusion-themed thriller.

Among the other notable achievements (or failures) in this week’s top-10 list was The Jungle Book adding another $2.7 million to its domestic gross and inching closer to becoming the next $1 billion movie for Walt Disney Studios this year. On the flip side, the struggles continued for both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Alice Through the Looking Glass (also a Disney film), with both films eking out modest weekends. Both films will almost certainly cover their production costs, but that’s the best-case scenario at this point.

Next weekend’s nearly certain box-office winner is Finding Dory, the animated sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, which earned more than $936 million during its 29-week run. Without any other horror movies hitting theaters in the next month or so, The Conjuring 2 is likely to hold strong near the top of the box-office rankings too.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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