It use to be that the studios would space their horror movies apart on the schedule. It’s not usual that one would open up immediately after the other for fear of cannibalizing the same audience. That didn’t happen this weekend as New Line’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It opened to $24M, while Paramount’s second weekend of A Quiet Place Part II took in $19.5M. All of this just speaks to audiences’ urge to return to the cinema after being cooped up for a year-plus during Covid. We saw a slightly similar clash of demos when two fanboy IPs, Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer, went at it over the April 23-25 weekend, each posting respective solid results of $23.3M and $21.1M.
“New Line’s Richard Brener and Carolyn Blackwood did an incredible job, in addition to Josh Goldstine and his marketing team for really letting audiences know that they can be scared in the Conjuring tradition,” beamed Warner Bros. Domestic Distribution Boss Jeff Goldstein this morning.
Meanwhile, which movie will get bragging rights first for being the first to cross $100M at the domestic B.O. during the pandemic? Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II or Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong, now at $99.1M? Sources’ are betting it’s A Quiet Place Part II.
Even the No. 3 title, Disney’s Cruella, did well, posting a $11.2M second weekend at 3,922, -48%, after a $3.28M Friday, -57%. Ten-day total for Cruella is $43.6M.
Conjuring 3 made $9.84M on Friday to A Quiet Place 2‘s $6.2M (-68% from a week ago – remember, Thursday previews were rolled into Friday). A Quiet Place 2‘s second weekend decline of -59% is standard for a horror movie, and very good considering that exhibition is 100% back with capacity limits averaging 50% across the country. By the end of today, the John Krasinski-directed sequel will stand at $88.6M. 2018’s A Quiet Place crossed the $100M threshold by the end of its second frame, and finaled at $188M.
What’s clear this weekend is that audiences continue to show a theatrical appetite, and the abundance of product at the multiplex makes for great business. The overall weekend looks to come in at $70M+, which would be 13% off from last weekend’s $80.1M. That’s with a domestic marketplace which has 73% of 5,88K theaters in operation, with Canada’s Ontario movie theatres shuttered, Manitoba 3% open, with British Columbia and Alberta 6% and 3% open. Canadian aorta exhibitor Cineplex only has 33 of its 162 locations open in the Great White North. With the country’s exhibition infrastructure in shambles, Warners is making Conjuring 3 available on PVOD up there.
Throughout the summer, I’m sure there will be countless pieces written about whether this availability of a film in the home and in theaters at the same time is good or not for the business. Those studios practicing experimental windows need to get their heads around the fact that all these clean copies available on the web only opens the door for piracy. The question becomes: are two windows being burned up at the same time, and thus a movie’s long-term revenue will be significantly lower?
Last weekend, Samba TV reported that in its polling of Smart terrestrial TV households, that Cruella clocked 686K household views on Disney+ Premier, which translates to an estimated $20.57M 4-day weekend in PVOD revenue. Add that to the pic’s 4-day opening of $26.5M and it equals $47M in the pic’s first weekend box office and PVOD money. Disney doesn’t have to split its Premier money with anyone, unlike box office which is shared with exhibitors. What are the legs on a Disney+ Premier title on its service alone? Did Cruella also post a -48% decline like its box office in its second weekend on Disney+ Premier? It’s clear that with Disney+ in the mix, Cruella is getting dented in its sheer running total box office gross: Despite a notable opening for the pandemic, Cruella‘s 10-day total of $43.6M is lower than that of Alice Through the Looking Glass ($51.3M), Maleficent ($128.1M) and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil ($66.2M) over the same period of time. Conjuring 3 is playing for free to HBO Max subscribers, while Cruella is available to Disney+ premier subscribers at $29.99. Conjuring 3 will stay on HBO Max for 31 days. After that, the pic’s second month is exclusive to theaters.
In the wake of A Quiet Place 2 and Cruella‘s success last weekend, Paramount andDisney respectively made headlines on Friday afternoon, the Melrose lot dating the genre pic’s follow-up movie from Jeff Nichols for March 31, 2023, and the latter announcing that a sequel to the Emma Stone feature is already in the works with original pic’s director Craig Gillespie and scriber Tony McNamara.
Meanwhile, the weekend’s second wide entry, Universal’s DreamWorks Animation’s sequel Spirit Untamed, made an estimated $2.4M on Friday at 3,211 theaters for a $6.2M 3-day in fourth place. CinemaScore audiences gave the movie an A. We’ve seen better from animated family fare during the pandemic: Uni shelled out big for P&A on Croods: A New Age, which translated into a $9.7M 3-day, $14.2M 5-day on its way to $58.3M domestic take, while Warner Bros.’ Tom & Jerry did $14.1M over its first Friday-Sunday. Heck, even Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon‘s opening weekend of $8.5M was higher than Spirit Untamed, and it didn’t have No. 3 Cinemark in its opening mix.
In all fairness to Spirit Untamed, the above movies appealed to both boys and girls, while the DWA horse sequel is largely aimed at girls. Women were the majority on Friday, making up 68% of the audience, with 45% under 17. Social media metrics, per RelishMix, on this part 2 to an animated film that came out 19 years ago (but has rallied on TV and Netflix streaming in spinoff series) are low, with the Spirit YouTube channel counting 743K subscribers before opening. This number is fed into the Peacock Kids YouTube channel with 8.8M subs. Spirit Untamed‘s buzz is tame, says RelishMix: “Convo swings mixed, with frustrations about the general storyline and repetition and with many kids’ titles, while the studio trailers and materials have comments turned off.” Diversity demos were 31% Caucasian, 31% Latino, 24% Black and 14% Asian/other. Best region for the pic was the South, with Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak moviegoers giving the pic 75% overall positive score and a 55% definite recommend (updated from Friday’s figures).
Fifth place belongs to United Artists Releasing/MGM/Miramax’s 5th weekend of Wrath of Man, which grossed $335K on Friday (-38% from last Friday), $553K on Saturday for a 3-day of $1.27M, -41%, for a $24.6M running total.
Out all of the films in the Conjuring franchise, including spinoffs Nun and the Annabelle trilogy, Conjuring 3 has posted the second-lowest opening, ahead of 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home, which did $20.2M over its Friday-Sunday, and $31.1M over five days (it’s the only Conjuring universe movie to open on a Wednesday).
Like with any horror franchise, one can argue fatigue. However, New Line kept the production budget low on the latest Ed and Lorraine Warren paranormal escapade, coming in at an estimated $40M. Conjuring 3 earned a B+, which is a notch below the A- grades of Conjuring 1 and 2, but higher than any of the Annabelles (which did in order B, B, B-) and much higher than The Nun, which even at a C CinemaScore, boasts the biggest opening in the James Wan and Peter Safran produced horror franchise.
Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak scores weren’t far behind CinemaScore’s for Conjuring 3, with a 78% positive score and 58% definite recommend, with the crowd leaning female at 52%, 59% under 25, with 60% between 18-34 years old. Diversity demos were great across the board, with 34% Hispanic, 29% Caucasian, 23% Black, & 14% Asian/other. In CinemaScore exits, 25% of the Conjuring 3 audience gave the film an A- (15% Under 18 and 10% Over 50). Males repped 44% of the audience in CinemaScore and females 56% gave the movie B+, while Under 25 (53%) and Over 25 (47%) also gave a B+ rating. Best parts of the country for the Michael Chaves-directed threequel was West and Southwest. Imax and PLF drove over 20% of the weekend’s business for Conjuring 3. In Imax alone, the threequel did $2.1M, repping just under 9% of the weekend.
Top 10 locations for Conjuring 3: 1. Cinemark Tinseltown El Paso, 2. Santikos Casa Blanca San Antonio, 3. AMC Empire New York, 4. CMX Dolphin Miami, 5. AMC Orange Los Angeles, 6. AMC Burbank, 7. Regal LA Live Los Angeles, 8. Santikos Palladium San Antonio, 9. Cinemark Tinseltown Austin, and 10. Regal Irvine Spectrum Los Angeles.
And the threequel’s top 10 DMA markets were: 1. Los Angeles, 2. New York, 3. Dallas, 4. Houston, 5. Chicago, 6. Phoenix, 7. San Francisco, 8. Atlanta, 9. Philadelphia, and 10. Washington DC.
RelishMix notes that Conjuring 3 began dropping materials on April 20, giving it a seven-week runway with ten trailers and videos on WB and HBO Max YouTube channels. Together, they accumulated over 58.2M views before opening weekend, with a very strong viral reposting rate of 40:1. Materials on Facebook are posted across the Warner Media social network of 62.4M which included 4.5M connected fans on FB for the franchise. All of this built toward a social media universe of 131.1M, 31% above the horror norm. Star Vera Farmiga repped exactly 50% of the cast’s social reach with 1.6M fans; the actress being the biggest driver of engagement activation and fan response.
Chatter for Conjuring 3 was mixed, according to RelishMix: “Conversation from early screenings and trailers are positive leaning, with kudos to jump scares, overall cinematic quality with expected horror skepticism. Chatter references the ‘CCU: the Conjuring Cinematic Universe’, call-outs for a Conjuring TV series, as well as threads about how many installments will be produced and which order to see: ‘Conjuring 3 vs Quiet Place 2 first?.’”
The threequel’s stars Patrick Wilson and Farmiga pushed the pic’s release in Imax:
We’re building this weekend’s top 10 chart, refresh for updates:
1.) Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (New Line) 3,102 theaters, Fri $9.8M/Sat $8.6M/Sun $5.6M/3-day: $24M/Wk 1
2.) A Quiet Place Part II (Par) 3,744 theaters (+18) Fri $6.2M/Sat $7.7M/Sun $5.6M $19.5M (-59%)/Total: $88.6M/Wk 2
3.) Cruella (Dis) 3,922 theaters (+30) Fri $3.2M/Sat $4.3M/Sun $3.6M/3-day $11.2M (-48%)/Total: $43.6M/ Wk 2
4.) Spirit Untamed (Uni/DWA) 3,102 theaters, Fri $2.4M/Sat $2.1M/Sun $1.65M/3-day: $6.2M/Wk 1
5.) Wrath of Man (UAR) 2,007 theaters (-600) /Fri $335K/Sat $553K/Sun $387K/3-day $1.27M (-41%)/Total: $24.6M Wk 5
6.) Raya and the Last Dragon (Dis) 1,504 theaters (-511), Fri $386K/Sat $525K/Sun $395k/ 3-day: $1.3M (+20%), Total: $53.5M/Wk 14
7.) Spiral (LG) 1,983 theaters (-658) Fri $280K/Sat $365K/Sun $245K/3-day $890K (-60%)/Total: $21.8M/ Wk 4
8.) Godzilla vs. Kong (WB/Leg) 1,390 theaters (-425),/3-day: $463K (-48%)/Total: $99.1M/Wk 10
9.) Demon Slayer (Fun/Ani) 600 theaters (-545)/Fri $118K/Sat $192K/Sun $148K/3-day $457,5K (-47%)/Total: $47.7M/Wk 7
10.) Dream Horse (BST) 648 theaters (-606), Fri $68,8K/Sat $99K/Sun $62,1K/3-day: $230K (-64%)/Total: $2.3M/ Wk 3