Box Office Top 10 Film Film News

Box Office Decoded: Conjuring Sets Record, Turbo & Red 2 Open Flat, R.I.P.D. Bombs, Pacific Rim Plummets

To see older or more recent box office top 10 breakdowns please go here.

So, here’s what happened at the domestic box office this weekend: The Conjuring challenged the writers of the world to come up with new puns to describe a horror movie “scaring up” huge box office profits, Turbo proved one too many animated films have been released this summer, Red 2 opened flat, and R.I.P.D officially challenged The Lone Ranger and White House Down in the conversation of which is the biggest box office bomb of the summer.

Let’s run it down:

Top 10 Estimates for the 7/19-7/21 Weekend Box Office (Domestic)



1. The Conjuring 
  • Weekend Gross=$41.5 million
  • Total Gross=$41.5 million
  • Budget=$20 million

Foreign: In limited foreign release, The Conjuring also grossed $3.4 million for a combined worldwide gross to date of $44.9 million.

Audiences love themselves a dang good scary movie.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be good as long as it is marketed correctly.  So, the past couple of years has been awash in horror films which overperform at the domestic box office on opening weekend.  We’re talking about The Purge ($34.1 million earlier this year), Mama ($28.4 million earlier this year), The Devil Inside ($33.7 million last year), The Last Exorcism ($20.3 million in 2010), The Haunting in Connecticut ($23 million in 2009), and The Last Exorcism of Emily Rose ($30 million in 2005).  However, The Conjuring has topped them all, setting the record for the highest domestic opening for an original R-rated horror movie (beating The Purge and The Devil Inside).  Moreover, it is second to only Paranormal Activity 3 for the highest horror film opening of all time, though it falls to 9th on that list after adjusting for inflation.

That’s all fine and good, but don’t these movies usually fall at an alarming rate after their first weekend?  That is true – The Purge dropped 71% and The Devil Inside an even worse 76% in their second weekends.  Things might be different for The Conjuring.  It has no direct competition at the moment with no similar film out in the market, and unlike many of the films mentioned it is apparently a truly masterful horror movie with an unprecedented 85% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a film of its genre.  There is a downside, though.  The Conjuring had a small budget at $20 million, but most of the other films mentioned had microscopic budgets lower than $5 million.  As such, in terms of profit above budget The Conjuring is not as immediately profitable as most of the other films mentioned above.  That should be offset if word-of-mouth prevents a significant drop-off in the coming weeks.

2. Despicable Me 2


  • Weekend Gross=$25 million
  • Total Gross=$276.1 million
  • Budget=$76 million

Foreign: DM2’s two-week run atop the domestic box office finally ended, but it is still the leading film in all combined foreign markets where it grossed $35.4 million.  This brings its combined worldwide gross to date to $584.5 million.

What more is there to say about Despicable Me 2? It dropped only 43% in its third weekend, and continues to climb up the charts in the record books.  It’s officially surpassed the first Despicable Me in both domestic and worldwide gross, even after adjusting for inflation.  On the list of highest grossing (domestic) animated films of all time, Despicable Me 2 is now in the Top 10 (#8 to be exact) in actual dollars and in the Top 20 in adjusted dollars (#18 to be exact).  It is the biggest animated hit since Toy Story 3 in 2010.  Monsters University has done almost as well, not quite, but Despicable Me 2 is the hands-down animataed film of the Summer.

3. Turbo


  • Weekend Gross=$21.5 million
  • Total Gross=$31.2 million
  • Budget=$135 million

Foreign: $22.6 million foreign for a combined worldwide gross to date of $53.8 million.

Right, on the topic of big animated films of the Summer Turbo is not one of them.  Do you remember how much pants-crapping was happening in response to Dreamworks Animations’s box office bomb Rise of the Guardians last year?  Well, Guardians actually made a little more in its first 5 days than Turbo ($32.3 million vs. $31.2 million).  However, Turbo has a slightly lower budget than Guardians ($10 million lower to be exact), and opened surprisingly strong in just a quarter of potential foreign markets.  Domestically, it seems likely to fade fast, especially with Smurfs 2 courting the same demographic in just 2 weeks.  Dreamworks should have released it later in the year as there is currently simply too much direct competition out there at the moment with Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University.  However, with plenty of foreign country releases down the road Turbo may end up doing decent business worldwide.

4. Grown Ups 2
  • Weekend Gross=$20 million
  • Total Gross=$79.5 million
  • Budget=$80 million

Foreign: Grown Ups 2 is still mostly just playing domestically, but in limited foreign release it has grossed $8.7 million for a combined worldwide gross to date of $88.2 million.

Those desperately awaiting the downfall of Adam Sandler must now come down from their schadenfreude high after the failure of both That’s My Boy and Jack & Jill and begrudgingly acknowledge the success of Grown Ups 2.  It dropped 51% in its second weekend, which is around if maybe slightly worse than the Sandler average but better than the 53% for the original Grown Ups.  It’s already made more than Jack & Jill domestically (regardless of inflation), and it’s barely even opened in foreign markets meaning we’re still only talking about half the story.  Suddenly, Sandler’s next movie, Blended, another team-up with Drew Berrymore and due out next May, looks less like the desperate attempts of a fading star to bank on nostalgia and more like the return of a triumphant king.  However, that remains to be seen as assuming Sandler was done after just two big disappointments was as hasty a decision as would be deciding he was back after just one hit.

5. Red 2


  • Weekend Gross=$18.5 million
  • Total Gross=$18.5 million
  • Budget=$84 million

Foreign: $7.6 foreign for a combined total of $26.1 million worldwide.

So, 2010’s Red was your classic word-of-mouth hit that opened okay ($21 million) but hung around longer than expected, ending at nearly $100 million domestic ($90.3 million to be exact) and nearly $200 million worldwide ($199 million to be exact).  Unfortunately, Red 2 looks like your classic sequel which basically recreates the formula of the original, ups the budget, but opens to slightly lesser business and even lower profitability due to the higher budget.  Plus, it isn’t liked quite as much as the original.  So, in basically every way possible Red 2 is a disappointment compared to the original.  To be fair, its’ recent run of TV ads touting it as the movies that does not feature monsters, robots, or superheroes are refreshingly funny (although they certainly seem to be hiding the fact that Red is actually adapted from a comic book mini-series).

6. Pacific Rim


  • Weekend Gross=$15.9 million
  • Total Gross=$68.2 million
  • Budget=$190 million

Foreign: $34.8 million in foreign gross for a combined worldwide gross to date of $178.5 million.

The film franchise Pacific Rim wanted to be compared to was Transformers, just maybe thought of as a better movie that made the same kind of money.  Instead, it is now being compared to Cowboys Vs. Aiens: both movies disappointed in the $30-40 million range in their first weekend and dropped to below $16 million their second weekend (a week-to-week drop of around 57%).  So, domestically speaking Pacific Rim will be regarded as big of a disappointment as Cowboys Vs. Aliens, probably struggling to even crack $100 million.  However, it was just behind Despicable Me 2 this weekend as the highest grossing movie on the foreign market, where it has grossed $110.3 million to date.  Plus,  it still has not opened in China and Japan where it is almost guaranteed to absolutely kill it at the box office considering how many of its cinematic influences come from Asian culture.

7. R.I.P.D.


  • Weekend Gross=$12.7 million
  • Total Gross=$12.7 million
  • Budget=$130 million

Foreign: $6.8 million foreign for a combined worldwide gross to date of $19.4 million.

Everyone seemed to know that R.I.P.D. was going to bomb.  The trailers looked bad, the studio’s marketing half-hearted, and it was not screened for critics.  It is a movie that seems almost to have been designed with the express purpose of providing writers with a film whose title is perfectly tailored to puns about its box office performance, e.g., “R.I.P.D. is Dead on Arrival!”  However, it did even worse than expected, failing to crack $13 million after costing $130 million to make.  That is a roughly $117 million differential between opening profit and budget.  That’s around the same as the same differential for White House Down, but nowhere near as bad as The Lone Ranger and Pacific Rim.  However, at least a lot of people actually saw those movies when they came out.  R.I.P.D. is indeed dead on arrival, and could very well end up plummeting so hard in its second weekend that it falls out of the Top 10.  Ryan Reynolds may be a likeable guy with even easier to like abdominal muscles, but at this point he is dang close to being box office poison (to be fair, last year’s Safe House did okay).

8. The Heat


  • Weekend Gross=$9.3 million
  • Total Gross=$129.2 million
  • Budget=$43 million

Foreign: The Heat is still gradually expanding to more foreign markets.  At the moment, it has grossed $15.8 million in such markets for a combined worldwide gross to date of $145.1 million.

The Heat is now playing on 439 fewer screens, but it only dropped 33% in its fourth weekend, its smallest week-to-week drop to date.  It will end up making more than McCarthy’s Identity Thief from earlier in the year ($134.5 million domestic) but not as much as Bridesmaids ($169.1 million domestic).  Being the Summer movie season, there is so much new competition coming out each week meaning The Heat‘s stay in the Top 10 may not last much longer.  However, it has been a pleasant surprise.

9. World War Z
  • Weekend Gross=$5.2 million
  • Total Gross=$186.9 million
  • Budget=$190 million

Foreign: $12 million in foreign for a combined worldwide gross to date of $456.4 million.

WWZ is starting to wind down and has opened in most foreign markets by now, although Japan is still in its future.  However, in a Summer which has been chock-full of alarming box office bombs World War Z, with its delayed release date and troubled production, was expected to put all other bombs to shame.  Instead, it has turned into one of the most surprising hits, even surpassing Star Trek Into Darkness in worldwide gross at this point.  With its budget, it needed to hit huge, and that’s exactly what it has done, more so on the foreign market than domestic but a successful film either way.

10. Monsters University


  • Weekend Gross=$5 million
  • Total Gross=$248.9 million
  • Budget=Disney isn’t telling

Foreign: $20.7 million foreign for a combined worldwide total gross to date of $532.8 million.

Despicable Me 2 is kind of stealing all of Monsters University‘s thunder, but even though it is dying down domestically it is still killing it overseas.  It has now surpassed Monsters, Inc. in both domestic and worldwide gross, although it’s actually nowhere close to doing that after you adjust for inflation.  It is now the 6th highest grossing Pixar film, and the 12th highest grossing animated film of all time (again, not quite as high after inflation).

With so much new competition at the box office, several films fell out of the Top 10 for the first time, specifically The Lone Ranger, White House Down, Man of Steel, and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain.  So, add this to just the latest in many factoids about the failure of The Lone Ranger: it fell out of the box office Top 10 in just its third weekend of release.  White House Down isn’t much better, falling out in its fourth weekend of release.  Both films will fail to even make $100 million domestically and will likely end up in the conversation of the biggest box office bombs of all time (after advertising costs are factored in).

What’s up next: Star Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold’s desperate attempt to make us all forget X-Men Origins: Wolverine with the rather purposefully entitled The Wolverine (7/26), Aubrey Plaza’s very R-rated sex comedy The To Do List (7/26), and the Steve Carell indie comedy The Way Way Back expands to 650 more locations after 3 weeks of limited release. 

Oy, enough with the numbers already.

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