Finishing #1 with an estimated $40.35 million, the weekend box office was led by The Conjuring 2, as it nearly matched the $41.8 million its predecessor opened with back in July 2013. As already alluded to, sequels have had a hard time in 2016 keeping up with their predecessors, making The Conjuring 2's performance all the more significant. Add to that, it more than doubled its $40 million production budget with over $90 million worldwide in its opening weekend as director James Wan continues to deliver what audiences want.
Wan's feature film debut was Saw back in 2004 and he has since delivered the Insidious and Conjuring franchises as well as directed the global blockbuster Furious 7. Following this weekend's success of Conjuring 2, he now turns his attention toward Aquaman for Warner Bros. as his films have now grossed over $750 million domestically and more than $2.3 billion worldwide.
Looking into the future, The Conjuring 2 also scored well with opening day audiences, matching the "A-" CinemaScore put up by the original before it went on to gross over $130 million domestically and over $300 million worldwide.
Finishing second at the domestic box office was Universal's Warcraft, which outperformed Mojo's forecast, but underperformed based on what is expected from a film carrying a $160 million production budget. With an estimated $24.35 million weekend, the video game adaptation only managed $7,164 per theater and saw a 27.1% drop from its $10.7 million opening day (which included $3.1 million from Thursday previews) to Saturday. The flip-side to its domestic performance, however, is the more than $285 million it has already grossed worldwide, including the estimated $156 million haul it brought in from China after only five days of release. With that performance, Warcraft topped Furious 7 to become the fastest imported film to reach the RMB1 billion mark (114 hours) in China by a reported six hours.
With China currently on track to surpass North America as the world's largest movie market by the end of 2017, Warcraft serves as the most recent example of just how important it is for studios to think globally when it comes to their high-priced blockbusters. In fact, just last year Paramount's Terminator: Genisys brought into only $89.7 million domestically before bringing in over $113 million from China alone. Additionally, this past February, China saw its monthly gross top a record $1 billion, far more than the $798.9 million earned at the domestic box office during the same period of time.
The weekend's third new wide release was Lionsgate and Summit's Now You See Me 2, which finished in third position with an estimated $23 million. The budget for the sequel is reported to be $15-25 million above the $75 million spent on the original, which opened three years ago with $29.3 million before finishing with over $117 million domestically and over $350 million worldwide. From a global perspective, Now You See Me 2 debuted in Australia last weekend and expanded to 30 international markets this weekend, bringing in an estimated $20.1 million as its global cume currently stands at $45.8 million.
In fourth position is last weekend's #1 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which dipped 58.1% in its second weekend for an estimated $14.8 million this weekend as its cume climbs to just over $61 million. Rounding out the top five is X-Men: Apocalypse, which has now amassed $136.3 million domestically, enough to climb ahead of The Wolverine and become the eight highest grossing X-Men release of all-time... out of nine.
Behind the chart-topping $12,070 per theater average (PTA) for The Conjuring 2, A24's aptly named Brian De Palma documentary, De Palma, opened this weekend with an estimated $30,856 from three theaters for a $10,285 PTA. De Palma was followed closely by The Orchard's release of The Music of Strangers, which brought in $30,083, also from three theaters, for a $10.028 PTA.
In all, this weekend's top twelve saw a 13.8% improvement compared to last weekend, though it was a dramatic step backward compared to last year when Jurassic World opened with a record-breaking $208.8 million. By this time next weekend, however, we should be talking about at least one significant performance.
Next weekend sees the release of Disney and Pixar's Finding Dory, which is expected to generate an opening weekend over $100 million, continuing Disney's 2016 box office dominance. Also opening next weekend is the action comedy Central Intelligence starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, which could generate a significant amount of revenue on its own.
For a complete look at this weekend's estimated results click here and we'll have weekend actuals for you on Monday afternoon.
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