Warner Bros. R-rated horror-fest The Conjuring takes a heaping helping of The Exorcist, a dash of Amityville Horror and a sprinkling of The Birds, mixes in a terrific cast and looks to come out on top with around $30 million at very crowded multi-plexes this weekend. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as Ed and Lorraine Warren in the “based on a true story” account of particularly nasty demon that inhabits the newly purchsed home of a married couple (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and how it begins to terrorize them and their young daughters. Packed with great tension and solid performances, director James Wan (Saw, Insidious, Saw III) is one of the most effective helmers working in the genre today and looks to deliver another modestly budgeted hit.
As perfect counter-programming to the scary Conjuring, Fox and Dreamworks animation unleashed the animated Turbo on Wednesday and grabbed the pole position with a gross of $5.5 million and in the process knocked the animated juggernaut Despicable Me 2 to second place for the day. Look for a five day (Wed. through Sunday) total of just over $3o million and a three day weekend in the mid-$20 millions for this solidly performing non-sequel animated family film.
Next up is the PG-13 rated Red 2 from Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate that shoots its way back into 3016 theaters this weekend. Following up on the success of October 2010’s first installment which opened with $21.8 million and went on to earn just over $90 million at the North American box office, this latest version features the terrific cast that made the first film an action packed comedy hoot. Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman & Mary-Louise Parker return as mostly-retired black-ops agents who return for yet another over the top mission. Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), Red 2 should land in about the same box office territory as the first film with an expected gross in the low-$20 millions as it draws older audiences back to the summer movies.
Universal’s 3-D R.I.P.D. (Rest in Peace Department) in 2,849 theaters is directed by Robert Schwentke (who also directed the first Red film) and features Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in this $130 million production. An action crime comedy with a supernatural premise has two undead cops tasked with the mission of finding destructive souls who are unwilling to go peacefully to the other side. A gross in the mid teens could land this one neck and neck with Warner Bros. Pacific Rim in a battle for fifth place and just behind Sony’s Grown Ups 2 which could wind up in fourth with just over $20 million.
The summer movie season of 2013 at this point is performing well despite some high profile big budget flops of late and has managed to outpace every summer since 2010 at the same point and maintain an impressive 13% revenue advantage over last year.