After a fantastic international opening, plenty of online buzz and the future of video game adaptations riding on its shoulders, all eyes were on Warcraft and its domestic performance this weekned. However, general audiences instead chose to go with The Conjuring 2, leaving Warcraft on the low end of already low expectations.
The Conjuring 2 surpassed its low $30 million range expectations for a fantastic $40 million opening. That’s especially impressive considering the massive hype behind the original Conjuring, whose $41 million opening remains the highest opening weekend ever for an original R rated horror film. Also impressive is that this managed to retain 90%+ of the audience despite the disappointing Annabelle, which was panned by critics and audiences back in 2014. Had Warner Brothers stuck with their original October 2015 release date and not had the bad buzz of Annabelle, this likely could’ve opened over $50 million. Regardless, a big budget horror film with solid name recognition and good reviews wound up being just what audiences were looking for, as there hasn’t really been a successful horror film since The Witch back in February. Considering The Conjuring 2‘s Friday to Saturday drop was actually better than its predecessor (14% for this compared to 18% for the original) there’s a very good chance that this winds up with over $100 million domestic, which would be a stellar result.
On Friday, it seemed like there would be a strong competition for second place between Warcraft and Now You See Me 2. Ultimately, Warcraft had the upper hand, but not by much. The film opened with just $24 million, which is a terrible result for a $160 million production, regardless of any overseas results. With this kind of opening, it would be tough to get past $60 million or so, meaning there’s a legitimate chance that less than 10% of Warcraft‘s final gross comes from the domestic box office. The film is already nearing $300 million worldwide (primarily thanks to China) but it is still impossible to say that this is a good result to open $16 million lower than a horror sequel that cost a fraction of what this film did.
In third place, Now You See Me 2 took in a decent $23 million. That’s notably down from its predecessors $29 million opening back in 2013, but isn’t terribly surprising. In fact, it’s actually a fairly solid result considering the mixed reviews of both films and plenty of competition. Now You See Me never seemed like something that really warranted a sequel, but Lionsgate decided to greenlit it anyway, with a $90 million budget nonetheless. Ultimately, look for Now You See Me 2 to wind up in the $65 million range, which is a fine result.
Last weeks surprise hit Me Before You had a slightly disappointing 51% drop from its opening weekend. It seemed as though it may have had a chance to hold on well throughout the next month or so as solid counterprogramming, but ultimately there was just too many choices, and not enough interest.