Thanks to enthusiastic reviews and a powerful grassroots viral marketing push, the new horror release "The Conjuring" surprised everyone by snatching first place at the box office this weekend in an especially crowded field boasting no fewer than four major new releases.
Coming in at an impressive $41.5 million, "The Conjuring" easily topped fellow newcomer "Turbo," which, in a year of strong box office returns for animated films, seemed likely to be the top draw going into the weekend. But while "Turbo" did manage to earn $21.5 million in its debut, that still has to be considered a significant disappointment consider returning two-time champion "Despicable Me 2" brought in a strong $25 million in its third weekend of release.
Still, as sad as the numbers were for "Turbo," they represented a high point for star Ryan Reynolds, as his other blockbuster wannabe, "R.I.P.D.," crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. The comic book adaptation, which fans rightly recognized as a low class "Men in Black" copycat, only managed $12.8 million against an estimated $130 million budget. Ouch.
Finally, Bruce Willis and his gang of grey haired killers powered "Red 2" to a $18.5 million fifth place debut. That's less than the $21.1 million the original "Red" made back in 2010 and just one of the many reasons this weekend was a bit of a flop for Hollywood, with total receipts down a full 20% compared to last year.
Of course, there's hope on the horizon, as Fox's latest mutant menagerie, "The Wolverine," hits theaters this Friday along with the R-rated comedy "The To-Do List." For now, though, the box office belongs to "The Conjuring" — and that's a pretty scary prospect indeed.
Here's a look at this weekend's box office top ten, courtesy of Hollywood.com:
1. "The Conjuring" - $41.5m (our review)
2. "Despicable Me 2" - $25m (our review)
3. "Turbo" - $21.5m (our review)
4. "Grown Ups 2" - $20m (our review)
5. "Red 2" - $18.5m (our review)
6. "Pacific Rim" - $16m (our review)
7. "R.I.P.D." - $12.8m (our review)
8. "The Heat" - $9.3m (our review)
9. "World War Z" - $5.2m (our review)
10. "Monsters University" - $5m (our review)