The horror genre is exorcising the pandemic demons out of movie theaters.
In a surprise upset, newcomer The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It topped last week’s box office behemoth A Quiet Place Part II over the weekend. The latest installment in the Conjuring franchise (based on the case files of real-life exorcists Ed and Lorraine Warren) hauled in $24 million while Quiet 2 slipped to $19 million after its $48 million Memorial Day holiday debut. (Its 10-day total is $88 million, bringing it close to current pandemic record holder Godzilla vs Kong, which is stalling at $98+ million after two-and-a-half months of play.)
The upset is notable for two reasons: one, A Quiet Place 2 essentially met its second weekend expectations, so its performance didn’t particularly suffer because of Conjuring 3. Even more remarkably, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is also available at home to HBO Max subscribers at no extra cost.
All of that means at least three things, including:
- People remain hungry to get out of the house and, significantly for pandemic-struck theaters, want to go see movies on the big screen.
- The horror genre is doing a heckuva job at luring big audiences.
- Conjuring 3‘s box office strength also reflects just how significantly lower HBO Max’s subscriber base remains compared to Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime. For many fans hyped for this new Conjuring entry, the theater was their only option.
Disney’s villain origin caper Cruella (also in its second weekend) took in $11.2 million, bringing its 10-day total to $26.5 million. That’s solid considering how it’s also available at home on streamer Disney Plus (although, unlike Conjuring 3 on HBO Max, that costs an additional $30 Premier Access fee for Disney+ subscribers).
Internationally, the big driver is F9, the ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious saga. In just 17 days of overseas dominance, F9 has cashed in $250 million, the bulk of that coming in China ($203 million). Its set to open stateside on June 25.
One final note to keep in mind: these North America box office numbers remain particularly encouraging given that 25% of U.S. theaters have yet to reopen, and most of Canada’s remain shuttered. Most operational theaters also continue to implement various ratios of capacity, not yet allowing full theater seating. Once North American multiplexes are back in full operation, we may see numbers jump back to true blockbuster levels much more quickly than expected.