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'The Nun' Looks to Scare Up a 'Conjuring' Universe Opening Weekend Record

by Brad Brevet
 

 
September 6, 2018

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Little surprise here as The Nun delivers an impressive $22.37 million on Friday, en route to an anticipated $50 million opening. The debut is sure to be a franchise opening record, and if it manages to hold on and top $48.4 million it will also deliver the second largest opening for the month of September. The film received a "C" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

STX's Peppermint is looking at a three-day around $12-13 million after taking in an estimated $4.65 million on Friday. The film received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

And landing outside the top ten is Freestyle's God Bless the Broken Road, currently expected to deliver an estimated $1.5 million for the three-day frame after taking in an estimated $493k on Friday.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Warner Bros. The Nun is off to the start we expected, bringing in $5.4 million from Thursday night previews, the largest preview showing for a film in the Conjuring Universe. The previous top gross for the universe was the $4 million Annabelle: Creation brought in, ahead of a $35 million debut.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner's Peppermint brought in $800k from preview showings at 2,340 locations. This is a favorable result compared to the $650k Death Wish brought in from preview showings ahead of a $13 million opening weekend. It's also just behind the $915k American Assassin brought in from previews before a $14.8 million opening and just behind John Wick's $870k in previews ahead of a $14.4 million debut.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Through the end of July, Warner Bros. was approximately 30% behind where they were in 2017, a year in which the studio topped $2 billion domestically for only the second time in its history. Thanks to the August releases of The Meg and Crazy Rich Asians, that difference was cut down to -21% by the end of August, and, as of September 3, the studio topped $1 billion in domestic earnings and is pacing just -19% behind 2017. We mention this only because Warner Bros. is about to deliver yet another box office hit this weekend in the form of The Nun, the latest film in the ever-expanding Conjuring Universe and this one is looking to deliver a franchise record opening.

Debuting in 3,876 locations, The Nun is outpacing all previous films in the Conjuring Universe by a healthy margin when looking at IMDb page view data leading up to release. So much so that our $45 million weekend forecast almost feels conservative. In fact, it is decimating the previous films in the franchise over the two weeks leading up to release and online ticket retailer Fandango.com is seeing similar results, announcing in a press release that The Nun is "outpacing all previous Conjuring movies, combined, in Fandango's advance ticket sales". On top of that, they also say it's outpacing advanced ticket sales for A Quiet Place, which opened with $50.2 million back in early April, a number we wouldn't be the least surprised to see The Nun reach, which would give the film the second largest September opening behind WB's monster 2017 hit It, which opened with a far-out-of-reach $123.4 million.

Warner Bros. should also find themselves in second place with the smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, which dipped just 11.5% over the three-day weekend last week and we're expecting a drop around 33% this weekend for a $14.6 million start to the film's fourth week in release. This would push the film's domestic gross over $135 million by end of day Sunday.

This weekend finds STX debuting its third film in the last four weeks in the form of the revenge thriller Peppermint, which sees Jennifer Garner returning to her action roots. The film is opening in 2,980 theaters and industry expectations have it targeting a debut in the $10-15 million range. A look at IMDb page view data leading up to release supports that range, though leans a bit toward the lower end with Peppermint pacing a bit behind the likes of Atomic Blonde, John Wick and American Assassin over the two weeks leading up to release. It is, however, lining up quite well with the early March release of Death Wish, which debuted with $13 million. All that being said, the reviews for the film have not been favorable, which could result in dwindling results over the weekend. While an opening anywhere from $11-13 million would seem likely, if audiences lean more toward the critics' opinion of the film it could end up closer to $10 million if not lower.

Warner Bros. will likely make it three for the top four as we expect The Meg to dip ~50%, delivering a three-day weekend around $5.25 million, pushing the film's domestic gross over $130 million after 31 days in release.

Rounding out the top five, Sony is giving Searching an additional theater boost after last weekend's strong performance in just 1,207 theaters. The studio is pushing the film's location count over 2,000, which has us expecting a drop right around 20% for a three-day weekend just shy of $5 million.

It isn't until eighth position that we find the weekend's third new wide release, Freestyle's God Bless the Broken Road. Debuting in 1,235 locations, the studio is anticipating a debut around $4-4.5 million, but we're seeing evidence that might be a tough number to reach. IMDb page view data shows Broken Road pacing behind similar releases such as Do You Believe?, The Case for Christ and Samson over the two weeks leading up to release. Of those three films the closest comp appears to be Case for Christ, which opened with $3.9 million in April 2017, providing something of a ceiling for the film's debut while we're expecting a performance closer to $2.5-3 million for the film's opening weekend.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • The Nun (3,876 theaters) - $45.0 M
  • Crazy Rich Asians (3,865 theaters) - $14.6 M
  • Peppermint (2,980 theaters) - $10.5 M
  • The Meg (3,511 theaters) - $5.2 M
  • Searching (2,009 theaters) - $4.9 M
  • Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2,334 theaters) - $4.1 M
  • Disney's Christopher Robin (2,518 theaters) - $3.5 M
  • Operation Finale (1,818 theaters) - $3.2 M
  • God Bless the Broken Road (1,235 theaters) - $3.0 M
  • BlacKkKlansman (1,545 theaters) - $2.6 M

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