Monday, 13 June 2016

Box Office: The Conjuring 2 Takes #1, Now You See Me 2 Underwhelms

James Wan's return to the horror genre in the form of The Conjuring 2 impressively managed to avoid the worrying trend that has been facing many sequels this summer, that of a debut significantly lower than the previous film. The Conjuring 2 now joins an exclusive club of movies that have been exceptions to that rule, a club whose only other member at the time of writing is Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War. The Conjuring 2 did debut ever so slightly lower than the first film in the series (bringing in $40.3 million to the first film's $41.8), but given just how unforgiving this summer's box office has been so far most Hollywood trades will likely ignore this difference in favour of finally having a positive headline to print. It's been a little while.
The Conjuring 2 was likely helped along by some strong reviews (something many sequels have been lacking this year), with an A- CinemaScore implying most audiences have walked away from the feature feeling satisfied. This gives James Wan an even stronger filmography going into his next project, an ambitious film adaptation of one of DC Comics' most famous characters: Aquaman.
Videogame movie Warcraft performed as expected over the weekend, unfortunately expectations weren't high. The film brought in just under $25 million, enough to take the number two spot but not enough for a film with a $160 million price tag. As we discussed here a few days ago, the key to a Warcraft sequel is held firmly in the grasp of the Chinese box office, the only place in the world where the film is pulling in huge numbers. The film is estimated to have brought in over $150 million in China alone after only five days of release, thanks in large part to the huge fanbase the Warcraft videogames have maintained in China for many years.
If Warcraft can keep up the momentum it has gathered in China then the Middle Kingdom could single-handedly get a sequel greenlit, and in the process win the hearts of the many Western fans who have insisted the film isn't as bad as its harshest critics would have you believe.

Magician-thriller sequel Now You See Me 2 couldn't avoid audience's sequel aversion in the way that The Conjuring 2 did, instead having to settle for the number three spot and an opening of $23 million ($6 million lower than the first film's debut back in 2013). This isn't good news for Lionsgate and Summit who were hoping this could be a new big franchise for them, showing dedication to the property by gifting this sequel a budget $15-25 million higher than the first film had while also prematurely starting production on a third entry. This isn't a disastrous debut by any stretch but given this inferior opening weekend and an as of yet unremarkable international performance, the film is looking likely to finish with a lower worldwide gross than the original.
Last week's number one, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows drops three places to number four to accommodate the new releases, taking a drop of about 58%. This isn't far off the second week drop the first film was dealt two years ago (55.7%), but it's worth noting that the 2014 entry opened with a lot more than this sequel to begin with. Overall, Turtles 2 is another sequel that is significantly underperforming this summer, but given that these kinds of films often make a lot of their money back in product placement and merchandise sales this doesn't necessarily spell the end of this franchise.
Rounding out the top five is X-Men: Apocalypse, another sequel which at this point has no chance of matching its precursor in terms of box office figures; the kindest headline that can be found for Fox's Marvel sequel this week, is that it is now the eighth highest grossing X-Men film domestically -- not all that impressive when you consider there has only been nine.
The harshest weekend was suffered by Andy Samberg's Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping which dropped 63% from its already abysmal opening, plummeting straight out of the top ten to number thirteen on only its second week. The film made only $1.7 million over the weekend, despite still playing in over 2,300 theatres. In stark contrast, Disney's The Jungle Book is still clinging onto its spot in the top ten after nine weeks of release, crossing the $900 million mark worldwide last week.
US Box Office (weekend of 10th-12th June 2016)
1. (-) The Conjuring 2 - $40.3 million
2. (-) Warcraft - $24.3 million
3. (-) Now You See Me 2 - $23 million
4. (1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - $14.8 million
5. (2) X-Men: Apocalypse - $10 million
6. (3) Me Before You - $9.2 million
7. (5) The Angry Birds Movie - $6.7 million
8. (4) Alice Through The Looking Glass - $5.5 million
9. (6) Captain America: Civil War - $4.3 million
10. (9) The Jungle Book - $2.7 million


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