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Weekend Estimates: Conjuring Top at Home, Warcraft Dominates in China

June 12th, 2016

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

This weekend’s box office is a tale of two continents. In North America, The Conjuring 2 is off to a great start, easily winning the weekend with $40.35 million, and averaging over $10,000 per theater. In Asia—China to be specific—Warcraft has made a record-breaking debut. Its domestic prospects look horrible though, with just $24.36 million expected for the weekend.

The Conjuring’s start is almost exactly equal to the $41.86 million earned by the first film in the franchise on its opening weekend, and a little ahead of the $37.1-million debut of franchise spin-off Annabelle. Although The Conjuring 2 will probably have fairly weak legs, as is common for supernatural horror, it should end up with around $85 million–$95 million in total, which is plenty to justify another outing in the series.

Warcraft is in a much more perilous, and interesting position. Its domestic opening is pretty much a disaster for a film with a $160 million budget, and very weak reviews won’t help it maintain much momentum in the weeks to come, particularly with a lot of other tentpoles out there. But its Chinese performance so far is remarkable. The film has an estimated $156 million there after five days in release, making it the top-grossing film of all time in the territory at this point in its release, beating a record held by Furious 7. That sets Warcraft up for around $400 million in total in China, which would handily offset its disappointing performance elsewhere if it wasn’t for two facts. First, China only pays a 25% rental on box office, compared to around 50% in other countries, so a $400 million take there is equivalent to $200 million in other countries. Second, co-producer Legendary Pictures owns the rights to the Chinese market, which leaves an unusual situation where Universal has a stinker on their hands and Legendary has a big money-maker. Negotiating a production deal for a sequel is going to be tricky.

The third wide opener this weekend, Now You See Me 2 is also doing moderate business, with $23 million projected from 3,232 theaters, for an average virtually identical to Warcraft. While there’s an argument that this is another under-performing sequel, the difference isn’t that huge, since the first film opened with $29.35 million. The problem this time around is the weak reviews, which will probably leave it closer to $70 million by the end of its run than the $118 million earned by Now You See Me. International markets will be key to this one too though: the original picked up over $230 million internationally.

The broader market looks weak, thanks in part to the ho-hum performance of the openers, but also because the returning films are either struggling or mostly played out. The total box office for the weekend will compare very unfavorably to last year thanks to that, but also because this is when Jurassic World launched. Perhaps Finding Dory can help boost things next weekend.

There are a couple of brighter pieces of news on the art-house front. Documentaries De Palma and The Music of Strangers are both projected to top $30,000 from three theaters, making them welcome additions to the $10,000 club.

- Weekend estimates

- The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist Comparisons
- Warcraft Comparisons
- Now You See Me Comparisons
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Comparisons
- Me Before You Comparisons
- Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Comparisons
- Top 2016 movies at the global box office

Bruce Nash,

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Warcraft, Finding Dory, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, Now You See Me 2, De Palma, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble