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411 Box Office Report: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It Scores Strong #1 Start

June 6, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Warner Bros. picked up another win at the box office this weekend as The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It defied expectations for a #1 start. The third film in the direct Conjuring series (and the eighth in that cinematic universe) took the top spot with a $24 million start, opening nicely above the high teens estimates that it had been predicted for. The film’s start is the lowest for the main Conjuring franchise, but ranks ahead of the $20.3 million start of 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home and about on par with The Curse of La Llorona’s $26.3 million start that same year.

It’s a strong performance for a film that opened day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max, and further demonstrates how the strategy is working well for Warner Bros. in 2021 as they navigate the tail end of the pandemic era of the box office. The Devil Made Me Do It posted the third-best R-rated opening during the pandemic, behind A Quiet Place Part II’s $47.5 million start last weekend and Mortal Kombat’s $23.3 million start in April. And all this for a fairly low-key entry in a franchise that has been accused of growing a bit long in the tooth. The horror film was able to score thanks to the fact that the main series has been largely viewed as better than several spin-offs, and the okay critical reaction (60% on RT) combined with very good word of mouth (B+) to get audiences into theaters.

The Devil Made Me Do It will have time to expand on its opening weekend, without any direct competition arriving at least until F9 steals most of its target demographic away in three weeks. The Conjuring Universe has averaged a 2.49 multiple as a whole, but that average is weighed down by the rough drops from Curse of La Llorona, The Nun, and the first Annabelle. The main series has done a bit better at almost a 3.0. With a moderately path from here, this one should be able to hit at least $60 to $65 million, with more not at all out of the question. The film added $33.1 million overseas for a $57.1 million worldwide start, a hell of a beginning against a $39 million production budget.

A Quiet Place Part II felt the bit of The Conjuring’s opening a bit more than expected and slipped 59% in its second weekend to $19.5 million. The horror sequel’s drop was, as expected, much higher than the 34% that the first film managed in April of 2018. Still, a high 50% slip is pretty par for the course, especially for big horror sequels, and Paramount isn’t sweating this too much. The John Krasinski-directed film stands at $88.6 million domestically and $137.4 million worldwide, good numbers against a $17 million production budget. This one is still very easily on course for $100 million-plus, with $125 million still looking to be its expected endgame.

Disney’s Cruella had a decent hold in its second week, down to #3 with $11.2 million. That’s off 48% from last weekend, and is thanks to positive word of mouth on this live-action prequel. The film stands at $43.7 million domestically and $87.1 million worldwide against a $100 million budget, and it should be able to get toward a $70 million domestic total if not higher. Add in the Disney+ Premier Access revenue and this is a hit for its studio (thus the sequel in development).

Universal’s Spirit Untamed rode into the #4 spot, bringing in $6.2 million. The animated follow-up to 2002’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron was about where people expected it to be, considering the low P&A spent on it and the under-the-radar status of this franchise. This one didn’t score too well with the critics, registering at a mediocre 46% on RT, but audiences who did see it loved it with an A CinemaScore. The largely young female audience came out to support it, and it’ll need that support as it tries to make back its $30 million budget. It added just $1.1 million overseas for a $7.3 million worldwide start. Its domestic run seems destined for somewhere just north of $20 million.

Speaking of animated films, Raya and the Last Dragon keeps on rolling as it was down two spots to #3 in its 14th week with $1.3 million. That’s off 44% from last weekend, as it carries its totals to $53.5 million domestically and $114.1 million worldwide. It still seems likely to close out its domestic run in the high $50 million range, with $60 million not at all impossible considering how its legs have been. Add in the Disney+ Premier Access revenue and this is a hit for the studio, even against its $100 million production budget.

Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man was down two spots to #6 in its fifth weekend with $1.3 million, off 41%. The revenge action thriller now stands at $24.7 million domestically and $82.4 million worldwide thus far. It still looks to be cruising to $28 million to $30 million domestically.

Spiral slipped 60% in its fourth weekend, bringing in $890,000. The Saw revival brought its totals to $21.8 million domestically and $30.4 million worldwide. While that’s lackluster for the franchise, it’s in part because Lionsgate is also already making money on the film digitally as it released last week. With a $20 million budget, this will be considered a success and it should be able to finish its domestic run around $25 million.

Godzilla vs. Kong was down 48% in its 10th weekend with $463,000. The MonsterVerse action blockbuster now stands at $99.1 million domestically and is in a race with A Quiet Place Part II to see who crosses $100 million first. It has $431.1 million worldwide and is a huge hit against its $155 million budget.

Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train was down 47% in its seventh weekend with $457,500, bringing its totals to $47.7 million domestically and $479.7 million worldwide. It’s a massive hit for Funimation.

Dream Horse closed out the top 10 with $230,000 in its third weekend, down 64%. The equestrian racing film is now at $2.3 million and should be able to end its theatrical run at about $3 million.

F9: The Fast Saga won’t open for a few weeks domestically, but it is up to $256 million in international markets even with a heavy drop in China last weekend. It has surprassed Godzilla vs. Kong as the Middle Kingdom’s biggest grosser from Hollywood and is keeping pace with Hobbs & Shaw there.

Next weekend will see Warner Bros. try to rule the box office for a sixth week in 2021 via In The Heights, the musical based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway production. It shouldn’t have any trouble doing so. Sony, meanwhile, will enter the family fray with the pandemic-delayed Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway which has already grossed $45.8 million overseas.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It – $24 million ($24 million total)
2. A Quiet Place Part II – $19.5 million ($88.6 million total)
3. Cruella – $11.2 million ($43.7 million total)
4. Spirit Untamed – $6.2 million ($6.2 million total)
5. Raya & The Last Dragon – $1.3 million ($53.5 million total)
6. Wrath of Man – $1.3 million ($24.7 million total)
7. Spiral – $890,000 ($21.8 million total)
8. Godzilla vs. Kong – $463,000 ($99.1 million total)
9. Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train – $457,500 ($47.7 million total)
10. Dream Horse – $230,000 ($2.3 million total)