Earlier this year, "The Conjuring" scared up more than $135 million at the box office, and now, Patrick Wilson and director James Wan are back for round two with "Insidious: Chapter 2," which could even set a new September record.
In July, "The Conjuring" debuted with $41.9 million, the biggest horror opening in a year full of low-budget shocker successes like January's Guillermo del Toro-produced "Mama" and June's "The Purge," from "Insidious" producer Jason Blum. Going into the weekend, Fandango reported "Insidious: Chapter 2" had sold more pre-sale tickets than any other horror flick this year.
2011's "Insidious" made $97 million worldwide. "Insidious: Chapter 2" reunites Wan, Wilson, Rose Byrne and Lin Shaye with the supernatural horror premise of the first film. Box-office forecasters predicted an opening around $32 million for the less well-reviewed $5 million sequel.
The month of September is generally slow for movie theaters, with students returning to school and football hitting TV. If "Insidious: Chapter 2" does open north of $30 million, it will be the only live-action movie to have done so in the last 10 years, aside from the similarly PG-13 "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," which debuted with $30 million back in 2005.
The weekend's other major new release, "The Family," sees Robert DeNiro mining familiar mafia territory for laughs. Despite originating with writer/director Luc Besson ("The Professional") and boasting an executive producer credit for Martin Scorsese, "The Family" has been panned by most film critics.
Nevertheless, a debut in the $11 million to $13 million range should be enough to give "The Family" the #2 spot over last week's box-office champion, "Riddick." Vin Diesel's third cinematic turn as the gritty antihero from "Pitch Black" will most likely gather another $8 million or so for a two week total of around $30 million. Unlike its costly predecessor, 2004's $105 million "The Chronicles of Riddick," "Riddick" was produced for a much more modest $38 million. The sci-fi action flick has picked up $7.4 million overseas.
Spanish-language indie hit "Instructions Not Included" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" should round out the top five. Historical drama "The Butler" has already made $93.7 million at the domestic box office since it opened last month.