Animated movies have topped the box office for the past four weekends, but this time around, audiences were ready to embrace something a bit edgier. As such, Warner Bros.’ horror film The Conjuring easily topped a crowded weekend with an eye-popping $41.5 million.
The $20 million James Wan-directed title garnered the best horror debut of the year, trumping The Purge‘s $34.1 million bow in May. It also had the second-best debut ever for an R-rated horror film, trailing only Paranormal Activity 3, which opened with $52.6 million in 2011. The film notched a powerful $14,306 per theater average, and if it receives strong word-of-mouth (which seems likely), it could become a $100 million smash. Audiences, which were 53 percent female and 59 percent above the age of 25, issued The Conjuring an excellent “A-” CinemaScore grade — an especially impressive rating given the fact that the horror genre that has seen its fair share of “D” and “F” grades.
The Conjuring‘s debut marks a career high for Wan, who broke onto the scene in 2004 with his $55.2 million hit Saw, a film so buzzy it steered horror films into the torture direction for years after its release. In 2011, Wan scored a spookier hit with Insidious, which, like The Conjuring, starred Patrick Wilson. Insidious earned $54 million against a $1.5 million budget and now has a sequel hitting theaters on September 13. The Conjuring will easily outgross both of those films, though it’s all but guaranteed that Wan’s next effort, Fast & Furious 7, will be his biggest hit yet. READ FULL STORY