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‘The Conjuring’ Sequel Beats ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ for a $69 Million Box Office Weekend

"Conjuring" and "Cruella" prove that same-day home availability isn't the end of the world for theaters.

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”

Warner Bros.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” which opened in theaters along with HBO Max, bested the second weekend of theatrical exclusive “A Quiet Place Part II.” There’s positive signs in the results for both films as well as the #3 title, “Cruella,” but signs are mixed in the broader picture.

Theaters in the U.S./Canada (the latter still mostly shut down) took in around $69 million this weekend, a sum that represents 42 percent of the gross for the first June weekend of 2019. Similarly, Memorial Day weekend 2021 represented 45 percent the same period in 2019. Theaters have every reason to expect further improvement, and no one expects short-term parity, but viability will require hockey-stick growth.

This “Conjuring” is the eighth film in an eight-year-old franchise that includes three “Annabelle” titles, “The Nun,” and “The Curse of La Llorona.” It opened with parallel streaming, and faced off another major title in a similar genre. Its $24 million debut is impressive — the third best since theaters reopened, along with “Quiet Place II” and “Godzilla vs. Kong.” How much did its HBO Max availability cut into its total? Maybe enough to keep it from a $30 million total as a theater-only release.

When Warners’ same-day streaming plan comes to a close at the end of 2021, almost all studios will give theaters at least a three-week head start; only Disney is still poised to be the exception. Still, the total gross is far below sustainable levels and while it appears that theaters and streamers can coexist, can that be good for theaters? This week’s Top Ten has six films with current home platforms.

“A Quiet Place Part II” fell 59 percent in its second week, which is not entirely surprising; it follows a holiday weekend and horror films normally drop by 50 percent or more. On the other hand, “Quiet Place II” had a Cinemascore of A- and the first title dropped only 34 percent. In fact, the original had 10 weeks of drops under 50 percent and ended up with a sensational 3.75 times-multiple gross. The sequel appears to be headed for 2.5 times, or around $120 million.

With a 48 percent drop, “Cruella” had a much better hold even with its concurrent $29.99 PVOD option. It’s more evidence that day-and-date play has much less impact than expected. Family titles have overall shown better holds, so this “101 Dalmatians” prequel could see a $75 million theatrical total.

There was another wide studio release this week, but DreamWorks Animation’s theaters-only “Spirit Untamed” grossed $6.2 million for fourth place.

Several other new films from independents opened to no great effect. The top performer was “Witnesses,” about early Mormon leaders, did about $160,000 in 84 theaters for #13 overall. “Under the Stadium Lights,” a Texas high school football story, did around $30,000 in 43 (also on VOD). Christian Petzold, whose German-language “Barbara” grossed $4 million domestic in 2012, managed only $30,500 in 56 theaters for “Undine” despite strong reviews. “All Light Everywhere,” a documentary that played at this year’s Sundance, did $5,213 in two locations. Rialto’s reissue of the classic British Ealing comedy “The Ladykillers” did $5,000 in limited seats at New York’s Film Forum.

 

The Top 10

1. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros.) NEW Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 53; Est. budget: $39 million; also on HBO Max

$24,010,000 in 3,102 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $7,740; Cumulative: $24,010,000

2. A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$19,500,000 (-59%) in 3,744 theaters (+48); PTA: $5,208; Cumulative: $88,611,000

3. Cruella (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #2; also on Disney+ Premium VOD

$11,243,000 (-48%) in 3,922 theaters (+30); PTA: $2,867; Cumulative: $43,684,000

4. Spirit Untamed (Universal) NEW Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 48; Est. budget: $30 million

$6,200,000 in 3,211 theaters; PTA: $1,931; Cumulative: $6,200,000

5. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney) Week 14; Last weekend #3; also on Premium VOD

$1,306,000 (-44%) in 1,504 theaters (-511); PTA: $868; Cumulative: $53,528,000

6. Wrath of Man (United Artists) Week 5; Last weekend #5; also on Premium VOD

$1,275,000 (-41%) in 2,007 theaters (-600); PTA: $635; Cumulative: $24,679,000

7. Spiral (Lionsgate) Week 4; Last weekend #4; also on Premium VOD

$890,000 (-60%) in 1,983 theaters (-657); PTA: $449; Cumulative: $21,798,000

8. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) Week 10; Last weekend #6; also on Premium VOD

$463,000 (-48%) in 1,390 theaters (-425); PTA: $333; Cumulative: $99,119,000

9. Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (Funimation) Week 7; Last weekend #7   1145

$(est.) 425,000 (-49%) in 554 theaters (-591); PTA: $767; Cumulative: $(est.) 47,125,000

10. Dream Horse (Bleecker Street) Week 3; Last weekend #8

$230,053 (-64%) in 648 theaters (-606); PTA: $355; Cumulative: $2,327,000

 

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