In a surprise box office victory, “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” triumphed over “A Quiet Place Part II” in the U.S.
The latest entry in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Conjuring” series scared up $24 million in ticket sales from 3,102 North American venues, exceeding initial projections and easily leading domestic charts. Its results are especially strong because the film is readily available on HBO Max at no extra cost to subscribers.
Heading into the weekend, box office prognosticators expected reigning champ “A Quiet Place Part II” to lead again. The horror sequel, directed by John Krasinski, debuted last weekend to a pandemic-record $48 million and took in an impressive $58 million in its first five days of release. Even with competition from a fellow terror-inducing movie, “A Quiet Place 2” still enjoyed a solid sophomore outing. The movie generated $19.5 million from 3,744 theaters, boosting its total U.S. haul to a roaring $88 million. Overseas, “A Quiet Place Part II” added another $19 million, bringing its global tally to $138 million.
Currently, 75% of U.S. cinemas have reopened, according to Comscore. That, combined with promising ticket sales for “The Devil Made Me Do It” and “A Quiet Place 2,” has industry experts optimistic about the recovery of the movie business after a terrible year of delays and deserted theaters. With upcoming blockbuster hopefuls, such as Disney and Marvel’s superhero tentpole “Black Widow,” Universal’s “Fast & Furious sequel “F9” and the Warner Bros. musical “In the Heights,” summer movie season should provide theater operators with some much needed stability.
“This is another positive sign for the industry,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Two similar movies on top of each other doing these numbers shows vibrancy in the market. It’s very good to see.”
Warner Bros. did not report how many people watched “The Devil Made Me Do It” on HBO Max. At the international box office, where the company’s streaming service hasn’t launched, “The Conjuring 3” has made $33 million to date. The R-rated movie, which cost $40 million to produce, has amassed $57 million worldwide. In the recent installment, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as paranormal experts to investigate demonic happenings that trace back to the real-life 1981 murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson.
After this weekend, the “Conjuring” series, which intertwines with the supernatural universe populated by “The Nun,” “Annabelle” and “La Llorona,” has surpassed $1.8 billion globally, making it the biggest horror franchise at the box office.
Disney’s “Cruella” came in third place, dropping 48% and amassing $11.2 million in its second weekend of release. The “101 Dalmatians” prequel, starring Emma Stone as the puppy-snatching villain, is also available to rent on Disney Plus for an extra $30. Though Disney did not share viewership numbers, it is already working on a sequel so it’s safe to assume the studio was pleased with the film’s streaming performance. Overseas, “Cruella” added another $18.6 million from 36 markets for a global total of $87.1 million.
Elsewhere at the domestic box office, newcomer “Spirited Untamed” landed at No. 4 with $6.2 million from 3,211 U.S. locations. The PG animated adventure, from Universal and DreamWorks, is the sequel to the 2002 film “Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron” and features a voice cast of Isabela Merced, Eiza González, Julianne Moore and Jake Gyllenhaal. “Spirit Untamed” carries a price tag around $30 million and will likely benefit more from the ancillary goodies, like action figures, puzzles and sticker books, aimed at young equestrian lovers.
“As we’ve seen with films like ‘The Croods: A New Age,’ family titles have a tendency to leg out like crazy,” says Universal’s president of domestic distribution Jim Orr. “Its ‘A’ CinemaScore should bode well.”
Rounding out the top five is Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” with $1.3 million in weekend sales. The cartooned film, targeted at adolescent audiences, has grossed $53 million in the U.S. while playing simultaneously on Disney Plus Premium Access. This weekend marked the first time it’s accessible to subscribers at no additional fee. In a close sixth, “Wrath of Man,” an action thriller with Jason Statham, pulled in $1.2 million from 2,007 venues. After five weeks in theaters, the movie has made $24.6 million.