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411 Box Office Report: The Nun II Claims #1 With $32.6 Million Opening

September 10, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
THE NUN 2 Image Credit: Bruno Calvo/Warner Bros.

The Conjuring Universe returned to the top of the box office this weekend as The Nun II rose to #1. The direct sequel 2018 horror flick brought in $32.6 million in its opening weekend, on the high side of analyst’s $30 million expectations. That tops the opening of the last three films in the horror cinematic universe, namely The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It ($24.1 million in June 2021), Annabelle Comes Home ($20.3 million in June 2019), and The Curse of La Llorona ($26.3 million in April 2019).

Now, it must be said that The Nun II’s start is off significantly from the first Nun, which grossed a Conjuring Universe-best $53.8 million in September of 2018. But there are a number of very valid reasons for that. For one, hype was very high for that first film, which did not deliver in the eyes of most fans and critics. While The Nun was a box office smash for Warner Bros., it did demonstrable damage to the franchise when you see the lessened (but still fine) openings of the films that followed it.

For another, The Nun II is simply in a different era than the first. The most immediate part of that is the fact that with the strike ongoing, the cast was not out to promote this film. That left it to the studio to get the word out however they could. All that in mind, the opening was pretty good, especially when you consider that the critical buzz is not high. While the film’s 45% aggregated Rotten Tomatoes critic score is much better than the first (24%), that’s nothing to write home about.

Fortunately, it is playing out well even with unspectacular word of mouth. The film’s C+ CinemaScore is fine for horror and an improvement on The Nun’s C, but it lags behind most of the horror cinematic universe, which averages about a B. Similarly, the RT audience score (76%) is somewhat middling, albeit better than the first’s 35%. All of this adds up to a very decent start when you consider the metrics, and the fact that it has added $52.7 million overseas for a $85.3 million worldwide start. Against a $38.5 million budget before marketing, that’s a very good start.

The big question here now is how well it will leg out. This franchise is known for fading quickly; the average multiple for the cinematic universe is a 2.65. If it meets that level, it will put the film at a final domestic total of around $85 million. That would be a fine result, but The Nun II will be dealing with a lot of direct competition in the coming weeks so an $80 million domestic seems more likely. Either way, this will be a hit for the studio and a license for the Conjuring Universe to keep going.

Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer 3 took a big hit in its second weekend, as the action-thriller fell by 65% to finish with $12.6 million. That is a hefty second-weekend drop, well above the 45% that the first film dropped and even higher than The Equalizer 2’s 61%. Still, the film is not in bad straits at this point as it is in a strong position to continue performing. As of right now, it has $61.8 million domestically and $107.6 million – not amazing, but good enough against its $70 million budget. The movie is likely to make it to around $85 million domestically, with the overseas numbers carrying it to profit.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 opened softly, taking in $10 million for third place. That’s a hefty dropoff from the $17.9 million for the second film, which opened in March of 2016. Again, this isn’t a surprise; in fact, it is right around where it was predicted to open considering how long it’s been since the last film and how lukewarm audiences and critics were to that entry.

Both critics and audience are giving a similar yawn to the third film, which has an ugly 28% RT critic average (on par with part 2’s 27%). The RT audience rating is better at 73% to the second film’s 52%, though the CinemaScore is flat for a romcom at a B (compared to the second film’s A-).

The last entry legged out pretty well to a $59.8 million domestic total and $92.1 million worldwide, but don’t necessarily expect the same from this one. It added just $2.7 million overseas for a $12.7 million worldwide start, and domestically it should end its run at around $28 million to $30 million. No word on the budget, but it probably won’t be considered a hit by any measure.

The Hindi language film Jawan surprised by making its way into the top four with a $6.2 million opening weekend. The action-thriller overperformed to once again show the increasing strength of Indian films at the domestic box office. The film came in with very good reviews at a 93% RT average and a 90% RT audience score, and has $7.6 million in the US since opening on Thursday.

As usual, US grosses are just icing on the cake for Indian cinema (similar to how it is for anime), and it’s no exception for Jawan, which has grossed $51.5 million in India and elsewhere for a $59.1 million worldwide take. The budget was reportedly 300 crore, or about $40 million. This one will be a hit for Yash Raj Films, with ease.

Barbie fell all the way to #5 in its eighth weekend, 42% to $5.9 million. The toy adaptation is now up to $620.5 million domestically and $1.40 billion worldwide, making it the #12 domestic grossing film of all time. It will pass The Avengers’ $623.4 million by next weekend with ease and should total out at around $635 million domestically against its $128 million budget.

Blue Beetle slipped 47% in its fourth weekend to $3.8 million. The DCEU film has totaled $63.7 million domestically and $114 million worldwide. It is still on course for around $75 million domestically, and will lose money against its $120 million budget.

Gran Turismo fell 49% to gross $3.4 million in its third weekend. The racing drama now stands at $35.7 million domestically and $93.4 million worldwide. It is pushing toward a potential profit against its $60 million budget and should end up with a a $45 million domestic final.

Oppenheimer grossed $3 million in its eighth weekend, down 48%. The Christopher Nolan film has reached $315.1 million domestically and $891 million worldwide. It is still looking at a domestic final of around $325 million and is a huge money maker for Universal against a $100 million budget.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem was down 44% in its sixth weekend with $2.6 million. The animated film has now reached $111.3 million domestically and $161.3 million worldwide, enough that it’s probably ending up making a bit of money for the studio. It’s likely to finish out in the US with around $120 million domestically against its $70 million budget.

Bottoms had the best hold in the top 10 as it was down 33%, bringing in $2.1 million. The R-rated comedy has now grossed $7.6 million and should be able to close out its box office run at around $12 million. That won’t be a profit based on the $10 million budget but as mentioned last week, this was always a film that was going to find its money on home video and MGM is likely happy here.
Next weekend will see a battle for #1 as The Nun II faces off with A Haunting in Venice, which has the edge with an expected opening in the high teens.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. The Nun II – $32.6 million ($32.6 million total, $85.3 million WW)
2. The Equalizer 3 – $12.1 million ($61.8 million total, $107.6 million WW)
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 – $10 million ($10 million total, $12.7 million WW)
4. Jawan – $6.2 million ($7.6 million total, $59.1 million WW)
5. Barbie – $5.9 million ($620.5 million total, $1.40 billion WW)
6. Blue Beetle – $3.8 million ($63.7 million total, $114 million WW)
7. Gran Turismo – $3.4 million ($35.7 million total, $93.4 million WW)
8. Oppenheimer – $3 million ($315.1 million total, $891.3 million WW)
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – $2.6 million ($111.3 million total, $161.3 million WW)
10. Bottoms – $2.1 million ($7.6 million total, $7.6 million WW)