There were three wide releases over the weekend in North America, each one a notable entry vying for the top spot. In that backdrop, the terrific opening of James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 is all the more applause-worthy. The movie earned $40.3 million in North America and an additional $50 million overseas to bring home about $90 million which is fabulous for a $40 million film. Of course, 2013’s The Conjuring had been made on half of the sequel’s budget and had a slightly better domestic opening ($41.9 million) but that should not take away the strong performance of the sequel. The opening of The Conjuring 2 is in fact better than Annabelle ($37.1 million), though the latter was made on just a fraction of this budget. The Conjuring 2 will ultimately become the third movie of this series to cross $100 million domestically, which is not so common for horror movies. It could very well cross the $180 million overseas earning of The Conjuring. Even if we consider a minimum worldwide collection of $300 million, the return on investment for Warner Bros. is simply fantastic. This series is surely going to haunt us, in a good way, for some more years to come!
In the battle between Universal’s Warcraft and Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2, the former narrowly triumphed – an opening of $24.4 million against $23.0 million for the latter. But let us dig deeper. Warcraft is a fresh new movie, inspired by a popular video game series, and made on a hefty production budget of $160 million. In comparison to that kind of budget, the domestic opening is terrible. This is even worse than the opening of $26.9 million seen a few weeks back for Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass which everyone was quick to call a debacle. Warcraft too should be called the same, but the only thing stopping analysts from shouting out that word is China. The movie had an unbelievable opening in China, which has helped it to amass $261.7 million in overseas collections already. The worldwide total thus looks a far more respectable $286 million (the Alice sequel’s earnings are still close to only $215 million). So can Warcraft turn profitable despite the lack of interest shown in America? That may very well be the case. Assuming a $100 million marketing budget for the movie, global box-office earnings of $500 million or so should be the break-even figure. While Warcraft will not even manage $100 million earnings in North America, it could very well amass half a billion from overseas markets alone. It looks to be on its path to do just that, but a bit of tracking over the coming weeks will provide a better picture.
Now You See Me 2 has had a weaker opening than its 2013 predecessor by about $5 million. Good word-of-mouth had helped the original movie collect more than $100 million in North America and about $350 million worldwide. The sequel so far has earned $46 million worldwide and is a far way away from recovering the studio’s $90 million put in the production of the movie. I don’t expect the movie to do as well as its predecessor in North America over the coming weeks which means it may not even reach $100 million domestically. A lot will rely on the movie’s appeal in the global markets which it is yet to properly explore. If it can touch $200 million or so overseas, then it may have done just about enough to give back the studio its investment. Anything over and above that is a bonus!
With three new releases, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows dropped by 58% and to fourth place in North America. The movie has collected $116 million worldwide so far which is not enough as of now to make the studios think about a third film. Let’s wait on this for the next few weeks. The romantic Me Before You can however be called a certified hit now as its earnings have crossed $55 million worldwide as against its production budget of $20 million. If it can catch a bit more interest globally, the movie might even cross $100 million! X-Men: Apocalypse is close to touching $500 million worldwide, now the third-biggest movie in the X-Men universe but its earnings are going to be seen as somewhat of a disappointment after the success of X-Men: Days of Future Past and Deadpool. And to round up some of the other movies, The Angry Birds Movie has grossed more than $300 million globally, Captain America: Civil War is close to touching $400 million from North America alone and The Jungle Book becomes the third movie of the year to cross $900 million in global earnings.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. The Conjuring 2 ($40.4 million)
2. Warcraft ($24.4 million)
3. Now You See Me 2 ($23.0 million)
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows ($14.8 million; second weekend)
5. X-Men: Apocalypse ($10.0 million; third weekend)