Horror fans have been conjured, purged, and (umm) quiet placed already this summer with their scary sequels. Now it’s time to escape with the release of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. The original $9 million budgeted effort took in a hefty $57 million back in January 2019 and Sony Pictures aspires to keep the gravy train rolling. The studio wished to capitalize on its momentum more quickly as this was originally slated for an April 2020 premiere before its COVID delay.
Taylor Russell and Logan Miller reprise their roles from part 1 as does director Adam Robitel. New cast members include Indya Moore, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel, and Carlito Olivero. Two and a half years ago, Escape Room easily surpassed expectations with an $18.2 million domestic start. It even managed to only fall 51% in its sophomore frame and that’s quite solid for the genre.
Tournament of Champions could risk the weariness of moviegoers who’ve had plenty of fright fest follow-ups to choose from lately. I do think it will still manage low double digits.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions opening weekend prediction: $11.4 million
For my Space Jam: A New Legacy prediction, click here:
The domestic box office should experience its largest debut in the COVID era with F9 as the only newcomer joining the fray this weekend. The ninth pic in the Fast and Furious franchise is poised to score the largest premiere since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker all the way back in December 2019. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
The question is: how big will it be? My mid 60s estimate puts it slightly above what spinoff Hobbs & Shaw accomplished two years ago and not in the high 90s stratosphere of immediate predecessor The Fate of the Furious from 2017.
As for the holdovers that will populate the remainder of the top five, it could be a close race for #2. If current champ Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard loses around half of its opening audience and A Quiet Place Part II only falls about a third, the latter could remain in the runner-up slot. Look for family features Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Cruella to populate the remainder of the quintet.
And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $64.8 million
2. A Quiet Place Part II
Predicted Gross: $6.2 million
3. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million
4. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Predicted Gross: $4.1 million
Predicted Gross: $3.3 million
Box Office Results (June 18-20)
As anticipated, the trio of Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L. Jackson/Salma Hayek in Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard managed to top the charts and pretty much open in line with expectations. The poorly reviewed action sequel took in $11.3 million during the Friday to Sunday frame compared to my $12.6 million estimate. Its $16.7 million five-day take (it started out on Wednesday) is just under my $17.7 million projection.
A Quiet Place Part II dropped to second with $9 million, outpacing my $7.9 million prediction as the horror sequel now stands at $124 million.
Third place belonged to Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway with $6 million (I said $6.6 million). The ten-day tally is $20 million.
The sequels keep on coming with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in fourth at $5 million, falling under my guesstimate of $6.1 million. Total is $53 million.
Cruella rounded out the top five with $4.8 million and I incorrectly had it on the outside looking in. The Disney live-action remake is up to $64 million.
Finally, In the Heights suffered a hefty decline in its sophomore outing. Despite critical acclaim, the musical plummeted 63% for sixth place and $4.2 million. I was far more generous at $7.7 million. The lackluster tally is just $19 million.
Remember those Brady Bunch episodes when they went to Hawaii and Bobby found the evil tiki that ruined part of their vacation? Similar happenings occur in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It to the Warren bunch – our happily married demonologists Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga). It involves a satanic totem that wreaks even more havoc than Greg wiping out while surfing or Alice throwing her back out during a hula lesson. The latest Conjuring franchise pic delves deeper into the occult than previous entries and it is again based loosely on a true story.
This centers on the 1981 case of Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), who was the first American to claim demonic possession as a defense during trial. As we learn in the pretty effective opening sequence, his curse was passed like a hot potato from 8-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard). That little boy is exorcised by the Warrens and church officials in a body twisting procedure, but his malady is transferred to his sister’s boyfriend. That results in Arne returning home from work and his dogs are barking. His feet are fine. Arne works in a boarding kennel and those pups know something is off with him. The rest of Connecticut figures it out shortly after when he brutally stabs his boss.
Ed and Lorraine are naturally sympathetic to Arne’s forthcoming legal proceedings and seek to discover the backstory of how this came to be. Lorraine’s clairvoyant abilities unveils a tale of witchcraft. Meanwhile, Ed is hampered by heart problems. In fact, he experiences more ticker palpitations than you might as a viewer.
In 2013, the original Conjuring emerged as one of the finest horror pics in recent years. None of the official sequels or spinoffs have come too close to matching it and that holds. Michael Chaves takes over directorial duties from James Wan. Like the first two, this is well-made and doesn’t suffer from the cheap knockoff vibe that, say, Annabelle had. To be fair, even the Annabelle follow-ups improved. The last time we saw the Warrens was in 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home and I would say it had more pure entertainment value than this.
That’s not to say Devil is bad. It’s just another so-so example of creaking sound effects and jump scares that intermittently possesses a genuine scare. This even gets a little gooey towards the conclusion with its love conquers all theme. You can’t blame the filmmakers. Ed and Lorraine, in real life apparently and certainly on screen, have been through a lot. It’s too bad they weren’t in Hawaii back in the seventies. Maybe Alice would have had a far more pleasant hula lesson.
F9 is likely to give us the biggest box office premiere since late 2019 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker… but that’s not coming until late next week. For this weekend, we could see another frame like this latest one where no picture reaches the teens. We have one newcomer and that’s action comedy sequel Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard with Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek reprising their roles from the 2017 original. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
Bodyguard opens on Wednesday and I’m projecting its five-day count gets it high teens. That likely means low double digits for the traditional Friday to Sunday frame. That should be enough for it to open at #1 due to the disappointing returns for In the Heights this past weekend (more on that below).
We could see a showdown for the runner-up slot between A Quiet Place Part II and Heights. Both should experience declines in 30s range (there’s certainly the chance that the latter doesn’t fall that far due to solid word-of-mouth). Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway may stay in fourth position after its lackluster start and that would put The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in fifth.
So as we await the return of Vin Diesel and his space bound vehicles, here’s how I have the top five shaking out:
1. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Predicted Gross: $12.6 million (Friday to Sunday); $17.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
2. A Quiet Place Part II
Predicted Gross: $7.9 million
3. In the Heights
Predicted Gross: $7.7 million
4. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Predicted Gross: $6.6 million
5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Predicted Gross: $6.1 million
Box Office Results (June 11-13)
In a surprise development, A Quiet Place Part II returned to the top spot in its third frame with $12 million (ahead of my $9.4 million forecast). I had it pegged for third and the soft debuts of the newbies prevented that. The critically acclaimed horror sequel made some history along the way by becoming the first feature in the COVID era to reach $100 million. Its current total is $109 million.
Back to those disappointing newcomers as In the Heights came in on the very lowest end of expectations with $11.5 million… or not even half of my $26.8 million projection. Despite mostly glowing reviews and awards buzz, Heights simply didn’t come close to maximizing its potential. There’s plenty of theories as to why (including the fact that its streaming on HBO Max and the challenge of audiences going to theaters for non-sequels), but it’s tricky for Warner Bros to spin this. As mentioned, its best hope is for sturdy legs in the weekends ahead.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It dropped from 1st to 3rd with $10.3 million compared to my $8.7 million prediction. The 57% drop isn’t too shabby for its genre and it’s taken in $44 million during the first ten days of release.
Family audiences didn’t hop to the multiplexes for Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. It placed fourth with $10.1 million. I was far generous at $15.9 million. Considering the 2018 original took in $25 million out of the gate, this is another hard one for its studio to explain away.
Lastly, Cruella rounded out the top five with $6.7 million (I said $6.3 million) for an overall tally of $55 million.
The two week spell of horror sequels topping the box office charts should be broken this weekend with the release of the musical adaptation for In the Heights and kiddie follow-up Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:
I look for multiplexes playing Heights to not be a quiet place and I’m projecting a mid 20s rollout for what should be a #1 opening. This is despite Lin-Manuel Miranda’s co-creation also playing on HBO Max as the pic is the first real Oscar buzz contender of 2021. I anticipate a healthy female and Latino turnout.
The Rabbit sequel may not match the $25 million achieved by its 2018 predecessor, but I do think it’ll conjure up a mid to high teens posting for what should easily be a second place debut.
As for those horror sequels, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It premiered on the higher end of expectations (more on that below). The previous direct predecessor, 2016’s The Conjuring 2, fell a precipitous 63% in its sophomore outing. Devil will probably suffer a similar decline and that could put it in a third place showdown with the third frame of A Quiet Place Part II. I actually believe Place could edge out Devil for that slot, but it should be awfully close. Disney’s Cruella will round out the top five.
And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:
1. In the Heights
Predicted Gross: $26.8 million
2. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Predicted Gross: $15.9 million
3. A Quiet Place Part II
Predicted Gross: $9.4 million
4. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Predicted Gross: $8.7 million
Predicted Gross: $6.3 million
Box Office Results (June 11-13)
I was too generous to the holdovers and too miserly with the newcomers this past weekend as The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It opened at #1 with $24 million. My prediction of $19.8 million was off the mark and I had it placing second to A Quiet Place Part II. Oops. The return of the Warrens and their supernatural investigations premiered on the higher end of expectations, but well below the $40 million plus starts of its two predecessors. That said, considering it’s also on HBO Max, it’s a solid haul.
A Quiet Place Part II slipped to second with a 59% decline and $19.2 million. I was far more optimistic at $28.4 million. While I was off, Paramount has to be pleased. The sequel has generated $88 million in ten days.
Cruella was third in its sophomore outing at $11 million (I projected more with $13 million). The Disney live-action remake stands at $43 million.
DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed was fourth with $6.1 million, galloping past my $4.4 million forecast. While I was more skeptical, this is about where it was anticipated to land.
Raya and the Last Dragon was fifth with $1.2 million (I said $1.6 million) and it’s up to $53 million.
The first box office frame of June brings a battle of horror sequels as Hollywood basks in the glow of a profitable holiday weekend. With A Quiet Place Part II surpassing expectations, it should be poised for a loud sophomore frame. The competition comes from The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, the eighth picture in the billion dollar franchise’s cinematic universe. We also have DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed, a spinoff of the Netflix series and kinda sorta sequel to 2002’s Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. You can find peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:
It feels a bit strange to predict Devil will experience the lowest overall opening of the entire series, but that’s where I’ve landed. I can’t help but wonder if Warner Bros would want a little more daylight between its debut and the sophomore frame of Quiet if they had a do-over. My forecast of just under $20 million should put it in second place unless Cruella has a remarkable hold.
As for Emily Blunt and company, it’s worth noting that the original Quiet Place fell only 34% in its follow-up outing. The sequel may dip a tad further, but a gross in the mid 20s to even low 30s is on the table. Cruella should be #3 in the lower teens range. I don’t have much faith in Spirit and my meager estimate has it in fourth. Raya and the Last Dragon should round out the top five.
So it’s horror sequels and family entertainment and different kinds of spirits in the top five this weekend and here’s how I see it all transpiring:
1. A Quiet Place Part II
Predicted Gross: $28.4 million
2. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Predicted Gross: $19.8 million
Predicted Gross: $13 million
4. Spirt Untamed
Predicted Gross: $4.4 million
5. Raya and the Last Dragon
Predicted Gross: $1.6 million
Box Office Results (May 28-31)
Originally slated for March 2020, moviegoers proved they were willing to wait for A Quiet Place Part II. John Krasinski’s critically heralded sequel posted a COVID era best Memorial Day weekend debut of $57 million. That easily outshines my $43.6 million projection. Studios must be rejoicing in this encouraging sign for the summer season ahead.
Disney’s Cruella with Emma Stone also opened to pleasing numbers with $26.5 million (ahead of my $22.7 million estimate). Despite being on Disney Plus as well for a premium price, parents and kids turned out for the Mouse Factory’s latest live-action update of an animated classic.
Holdovers populated the 3-5 slots and it was close. Raya and the Last Dragon was third at $2.8 million (I went lower at $1.6 million). Its total is $51 million. Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man took fourth with $2.7 million (I said $2.4 million) for $22 million overall. Spiral was fifth after two weeks at #1 with $2.6 million (under my $3.2 million prediction) for a $20 million tally.
America’s favorite paranormal investigating peeps The Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) are back in theaters and on HBO Max next week in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. This is the second sequel to the 2013 horror hit and the eighth overall entry in the Conjuring Universe. Michael Chaves (who made the previous series effort The Curse of la Llorona) takes over directorial duties from James Wan, who produces and shares a story credit. Costars include Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, and Julian Hilliard.
Originally scheduled for a September 2020 premiere before its COVID delay, Devil will attempt to reach an opening weekend gross commensurate with its predecessors. That could be a helluva task. Both pics with Conjuring in the title made just over $40 million for their starts. The first two Annabelle spin-offs took in over $30 million out of the gate. Another spin-off, The Nun, actually holds the series record with $53 million. Yet the past two flicks couldn’t match up. The third Annabelle made just over $20 million while the aforementioned la Llorona hit $26 million.
Those dwindling earnings could continue here. I’m a bit surprised that Warner Bros is releasing this just one week after A Quiet Place Part II, which should still be making loud noises at multiplexes. Furthermore, some fans with Max subscriptions will opt to view it in the comfort of their home. This franchise, on the other hand, has often shown an ability to over perform (The Nun hitting $50 million plus was not anticipated). Yet for the reasons described, I believe Devil could end up having the lowest domestic debut of the whole bunch.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It opening weekend prediction: $19.8 million