Weekend Box Office (July 19 - 21, 2013)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Following four consecutive frames of animated sequels ruling the North American box office, horror fans returned with a vengeance powering the new supernatural thriller The Conjuring to a number one opening over a crowded weekend that saw four new releases debut in wide release. The R-rated spookfest grossed a sensational $41.9M from 2,903 locations for a sizzling $14,418 average, according to final studio figures.

The marketing campaign was chilling, reviews were very positive, and social media buzz was red hot going into the weekend making it a must-see for fright fans who have had almost nothing scary all summer to rally behind. Studio research showed that females led the way with 53% of the audience while 59% were over 25. The CinemaScore grade was an A- which was exceptionally good for a fright flick. The Conjuring scored the biggest opening of 2013 for a pure horror film. Most R-rated films of this genre that open to over $40M are sequels or remakes.

Following its two-week rule of the mid-summer box office, toon giant Despicable Me 2 dropped to the runner-up spot but still held up well despite the entry of a new animated pic. The Universal smash fell 43% to $24.9M raising the cume to a sensational $276M to date. The overseas tally shot up to $308.4M putting the global haul at $584M.

Premiering in third place was the DreamWorks toon Turbo with $21.3M over the weekend and $31M over the five days since its Wednesday launch. The Fox release averaged $5,600 from 3,806 theaters across the Friday-to-Sunday period which was decent but not big. Competition from Gru and his Minions certainly took its toll. In fact audiences have spent a gargantuan $525M on the toon sequels Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University over the last month so the original snail tale Turbo found it hard to stand out.

The extended debut gross was very similar to the $32.3M five-day Thanksgiving opening for last year's DreamWorks underperformer Rise of the Guardians. However, Turbo's road ahead could be better thanks to schools being out for summer which helps midweek grosses as well as the glowing A from CinemaScore. Rise had the same grade, though. Turbo has no kid competition next weekend so it hopes that strong word-of-mouth will give families an opportunity to see it later.

Adam Sandler's comedy sequel Grown Ups 2 dropped 52% in its second weekend to $19.9M giving Sony $79.4M in ten days. A final gross in the neighborhood of $130M is likely for Sony, another solid hit for the funnyman.

Opening in fifth place was the Bruce Willis-led spy sequel Red 2 with $18M from 3,016 locations for a decent $5,984 average. That was a few notches below the $21.8M bow of the first Red from the weaker October 2010 play period. The summer slot is more high-profile, but it also features more competition and mature adults have had plenty of compelling action options over the past three months. Reviews for Red 2 were not too strong and the CinemaScore was a respectable B+. The Summit release played older with 67% being over 35 so it may have better legs than the typical summer action sequel. The gender split was close to even with 52% of the crowd being male.

Falling 57% in its second weekend was the sci-fi actioner Pacific Rim with $16M. The decline for the expensive pic was normal for this genre and the domestic cume of $68.3M should be able to rise to $100-110M by the end of the run for Warner Bros.

The summer's latest big-budget reject R.I.P.D. stumbled into seventh place with a weak opening of $12.7M and has no future ahead of it. The PG-13 actioner starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds averaged $4,450 from 2,852 locations and was given a thumbs down from critics and paying audiences alike. Reviews were awful and the CinemaScore was a troubling C+ which indicates poor buzz ahead.

Universal reported that R.I.P.D. cost $130M to produce, but the true cost was probably higher than that. The opening came in at less than half of the levels of the summer's other mega-priced action duds After Earth and The Lone Ranger which had debut weekends in the $27-30M range. Studio research showed an audience that was 53% male and 57% over 25. The sci-fi cop comedy never took off with moviegoers and consumer interest was always low since the promotional push first began.

Off only 34% was the hit cop comedy The Heat with $9.3M for a $129.3M cume for Fox. Brad Pitt's World War Z followed with $5.2M, off 44%, for a $186.9M total to date. Two-time chart-topper Monsters University dropped 52% to $5.1M giving Disney a sizable $249.1M to date and $533M worldwide.

The top ten films grossed $174.3M which was down 21% from last year when The Dark Knight Rises opened at number one with $160.9M; and off 3% from 2011 when Captain America bowed to $65.1M.

Compared to projections, The Conjuring soared ahead of my $26M forecast, Turbo came in below my $27M prediction, Red 2 was just under my $22M projection and R.I.P.D. was close to my $10M forecast.

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Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when The Wolverine and The To-Do List both open.

# Title Jul 19 - 21 Jul 12 - 14 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 The Conjuring $ 41,855,326 2,903 1 $ 14,418 $ 41,855,326 Warner Bros.
2 Despicable Me 2 24,906,360 43,892,895 -43.3 3,820 3 6,520 276,006,395 Universal
3 Turbo 21,312,625 3,806 1 5,600 31,015,384 Fox
4 Grown Ups 2 19,872,150 41,508,572 -52.1 3,491 2 5,692 79,388,026 Sony
5 Red 2 18,048,422 3,016 1 5,984 18,048,422 Lionsgate
6 Pacific Rim 16,002,231 37,285,325 -57.1 3,285 2 4,871 68,282,523 Warner Bros.
7 R.I.P.D. 12,691,415 2,852 1 4,450 12,691,415 Universal
8 The Heat 9,303,788 14,002,080 -33.6 2,689 4 3,460 129,271,224 Fox
9 World War Z 5,191,541 9,314,862 -44.3 2,006 5 2,588 186,932,608 Paramount
10 Monsters University 5,121,878 10,631,576 -51.8 2,186 5 2,343 249,114,132 Disney
11 The Lone Ranger 4,380,047 11,506,100 -61.9 2,273 3 1,927 81,291,290 Disney
12 White House Down 2,400,246 6,162,633 -61.1 1,454 4 1,651 68,452,875 Sony
13 The Way, Way Back 2,200,622 1,121,851 96.2 304 3 7,239 4,592,892 Fox Searchlight
14 Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain 2,034,217 4,754,152 -57.2 748 3 2,720 29,947,017 Lionsgate
15 Man of Steel 1,819,387 4,719,084 -61.4 1,050 6 1,733 285,000,474 Warner Bros.
16 This is the End 1,179,821 2,850,571 -58.6 622 6 1,897 94,429,913 Sony
17 Fruitvale Station 739,484 386,291 91.4 34 2 21,750 1,331,697 Weinstein Co.
18 Girl Most Likely 694,477 353 1 1,967 694,477 Roadside Attr.
19 Now You See Me 436,092 1,305,391 -66.6 333 8 1,310 114,410,708 Lionsgate
20 20 Feet From Stardom 397,335 497,266 -20.1 135 6 2,943 2,424,321 Weinstein Co.
Top 5 $ 125,994,883 $ 148,194,972 -15.0
Top 10 174,305,736 183,777,279 -5.2
Top 20 190,587,464 192,594,472 -1.0
Top 20 vs. 2012 190,587,464 227,318,370 -16.2

Last Updated: July 22, 2013 at 10:15PM ET

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