Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Warcraft’ Breakout after International Success?


After scoring one of the biggest opening days of all time in China, Warcraft finally hits domestic theaters amidst competiton from Now You See Me 2  and The Conjuring 2.

Warcraft was definitely one of the most “wild card” releases of the summer, and it had become exeedingly clear in recent months that it was going to be a mega blockbuster in the Asian and European markets. However, non-Tolkien esque fantasy tends to have a very tough time domestically, making the US one of its most questionable performances. It’s rare for a film to be so huge internationally but have very little interest in the United States. In fact, Warcraft may end up being one of the first films to break half a billion with less than a fifth coming from the domestic market.

Now You See Me 2 is the follow up to the 2013 surprise hit, which grossed over $300 million worldwide on a $75 million budget. That was very unexpected, but the films blend of young stars, action, comedy, and a heist ended up working as perfect counterprogramming against bigger franchises like Star Trek and Fast and Furious. As a result, the film grossed over $110 million domestically, making it one of the highest grossing original films of the summer. However, a sequel doesn’t exactly feel entirely warranted, and the originaly film doesn’t have that great of a reputation, namely due to the first films baffling and highly polarizing ending. The marketing does do a good job of making it seem like a bigger version of the first film, with the same crazy magic tricks and action that fans may have wanted, but a notably higher $90 million budget is going to be tough to overcome. This will likely end up being another film that makes most of its money internationally, and will likely still wind up turning a small profit.

The Conjuring 2 is also a follow up to a surprise breakout hit from 2013, but was arguably much more impressive. The original Conjuring was one of the highest grossing original horror films in years, which is especially impressive considering its R rating. A $41 million opening weekend for a low budget, original R rated horror film released in summer is entirely unprecedented, but as the films marketing started to get going, Warner Brothers realized they had potential for a big hit on their hands. They released trailers and commercials positioning it as more of a blockbuster event film than a standard horror film. Combine great reviews and word of mouth, and it ended up being a massive hit. Additionally, it has a very strong reputation, which could lead The Conjuring 2 to end up surprising this weekend. Among fellow Wan-helmed horror films, Saw II opened with around $30 million (much higher than the $18 million of the original Saw), while Insidious: Chapter 2 opened with more than triple the original Insidious. However, both of those opened much lower than The Conjuring and became more popular in the home video market, meaning that a jump like that isn’t likely for The Conjuring 2. Still, the horror market has been nonexistent in recent months, and a lack of major blockbusters could lead The Conjuring 2 to break out this weekend.

Bar for Success

Warcraft doesn’t really need to do well in its domestic run in order to be a success, but a start of over $30 million would be a solid result. Meanwhile, Now You See Me 2 is good at $25 million, while The Conjuring 2 should be hitting around $30 million to get a pass.


  1. The Conjuring 2 – $37.5M
  2. Warcraft – $26M
  3. Now You See Me 2 – $20M
  4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $15M
  5. X-Men Apocalypse – $10M

One thought on “Weekend Forecast: Can ‘Warcraft’ Breakout after International Success?

  1. “Warcraft doesn’t really need to do well in its domestic run in order to be a success”

    Yes it does.

    China is accounting for 50% of international box office, but studios only make about 25% on what’s made there due to China’s draconian requirement to let some movies into the country. Warcraft looks to be a bomb in the U.S., $10 million Friday, slightly better than TMNT. Estimates are the movie cost $320ish million (production, marketing, advertising). The international market (basically China) can’t save this movie. In fact, no movie with this level of mediocrity and budget can survive in China box office. Studios still desperately need the U.S. box office. That won’t go away.


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