6TH UPDATE, Monday 5:16PM: Final weekend box office Warner Bros./New Line’s The Conjuring 2‘s actuals at the box office stayed in sync with its Sunday AM estimates of $40.4M. Several sources have told me inside and outside the studio that the film’s success can be attributed to director James Wan’s fanbase. The director delivered a film every bit as excellent as the original and Warner Bros. spread the word quickly via advance screenings, plus a closing night spot at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

“Warners created a great reputation for The Conjuring 2 in the press prior to its opening,” complimented one studio execThe sequel per industry projections is expected to drop at least 50% in its second FSS for $20.2M which is a tad steeper than Conjuring‘s -47%. Another studio outsider attributes Conjuring 2‘s ability to nearly match its predecessor in opening weekend ticket sales to “putting great directors on sequels. It’s not that audiences aren’t interested in seeing sequels lately. It’s because most studios are assigning low quality directors to them.”

Despite all the headline grabbing that Universal/Legendary’s Warcraft has hooked with its $150M-plus China opening, all that glitters is not gold. I’m now hearing from certain sources that the net production cost of $160M (with rebates, production partners) and P&A of $110M are much higher on the Duncan Jones’ videogame epic. Sequel’s final weekend B.O. is $24.1M. When it comes to pulling in the same genre videogame crowd, Resident Evil titles carry lower pricetags, the last sequel costing $65M before P&A. While there’s been a lot of backslapping about bringing in 53% of the gaming audience, one packaging agent tells Deadline, “They should have stuck with Sam Raimi as director who could have brought in a four-quad crowd. For a film with a production budget of this size, you cannot rely on gamers alone to show up. It’s a finite audience of men. It would have been better if the producers chose a top director, generated a great story — even if it wasn’t true to the gaming crowd — so that they can appeal to a broad audience beyond that demo. Were women ever going to see this?” In addition, the gamer crowd doesn’t have a reputation for returning to the theater like comic-book fans do when they embrace a superhero IP. The fact that Warcraft was delayed, and not released during its subscriber peak during the early part of the millennium also worked against its success at the B.O. Warcraft one sheets and billboards — which looked like Braveheart meets Green Lantern‘s Kilowog — were essentially in the spirit of the game and its merchandising art,  intended to speak to the game’s hardcore fans, not the masses. In a Finding Dory dominated box office world next weekend, which is set to bring in at least $115M over three days, plus Warner Bros./New Line’s Central Intelligence $35M estimated opening, it’s all downhill for Warcraft, which is set to see a 60% second sesh decline with $9.6M. Game over for Warcraft at the U.S./Canada B.O. will be at $60M.

Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2 is coming in at $22.4M, still 24% off the opening of its 2013 title which opened to $29.4M. Next weekend the industry projection is at $12.3M, -45%. While everything seems to be the same here in terms of audience demos, and their overall A- CinemaScore satisfaction,the bigger question looms around NYSM2‘s profitability. It’s certainly not the same set of economics that Warner Bros. employed on Conjuring 2 in regards to cost and P&A spend ($30M). Deadline hears that foreign buyers were quoted a production cost of $120M before P&A (not $90M) for NYSM2, which is 60% more expensive than the first movie’s $75M pricetag. Foreign sales cover approximately 65% of the sequel’s cost before tax credits, which would leave a $42M exposure for Lionsgate before any stateside P&A spend.

By Wednesday, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War will become the first film this year to cross the $400M mark, becoming the 23rd title ever to hit the four-century mark at the domestic B.O.

Total weekend ticket sales rang up $152M which is off 45% from the same FSS a year ago when Jurassic World sent a lightening bolt through multiplexes’ cash registers. ComScore reports that summer 2016 (May 6 through June 12) currently counts $1.2B, -22% from last year’s running seasonal total of $1.6B and -28% from the banner 2013 summer. Some of this is due to calendar discrepancies and product placement, but note one weekend can have an enormous amount of swing and take us higher. With Jason Bourne and Suicide Squad at the end, we could be looking at a back-loaded summer in terms of ticket sales.

Below are the top 20 films for the weekend of June 10-12:

  1. The Conjuring 2 (WB) , 3-day: $40.4M, 3,343 locations, $12,087 average/Wk 1.
  2. Warcraft (Uni/Leg), 3-day: $24.1M, 3,400 locations, $7,108 average/ Wk 1.
  3. Now You See Me 2 (LG) 3-day: $22.4M, 3,232 locations, $6,925 average/Wk 1.
  4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (Par) 3-day: $14.4M (-59%), 4,071 locations, $3,534 average, Total cume: $60.6M/ Wk 2
  5. X-Men: Apocalypse (20th) 3-day:,$9.92M (-57%), 3,585 locations, $2,766 average, Total cume: $136.3M/Wk 3
  6. Me Before You Warner Bros., 3-day: $9M (-52%), 2,762 locations, $3,272 average, Total cume: $36.7M/Wk 2
  7. The Angry Birds Movie (Sony/Rovio) 3-day: $6.55M (-36%), 3,083 locations, $2,125 average, Total cume: $98M/Wk 4
  8. Alice Through The Looking Glass (Dis), 3-day: $5.6M (-50%), 2,898 locations, $1,948 average, Total cume: $62.5M/Wk 3
  9. Captain America: Civil War (Dis), 3-day: $4.3M (-45%), 2,101 locations, $2,053 average, Total cume: $396.9M/Wk 6
  10. The Jungle Book (Dis), 3-day: $2.76M (-38%), 1,496 locations, $1,846 average, Total cume: $352.7M/Wk 9
  11. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Uni), 3-day: $2.1M (-56%), 1,581 locations, $1,341 average, Total cume: $53.1M/Wk 4
  12. The Nice Guys (WB), 3-day: $1.96M (-43%), 1,147 locations, $1,709 average, Total cume: $32.5M/Wk 4.
  13. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Uni), 3-day: $1.68M (-64%), 2,313 locations, $726 average, Total cume: $8.3M/Wk 2
  14. Love & Friendship (RSA/Amzn), 3-day: $1.4M (-34%), 826 locations, $1,700 average, Total cume: $9.42M/Wk 5
  15. The Lobster (A24), 3-day: $988K (-32%), 560 locations, $1,764 average, Total cume: $5.55M/Wk 5
  16. Money Monster (Sony), 3-day: $701K (-62%), 731 locations, $959 average, Total cume: $39.8M/Wk 5
  17. Maggie’s Plan (SPC) 3-day: $623K (+337%), 311 locations, $2,004 average, Total cume: $1.07M/Wk 4
  18. Zootopia (Dis) 3-day: $557K (-26%), 319 locations, $1,746 average, Total cume: $338.2M, Wk 15
  19. A…Aa (BlueSky) 3-day: $345K (-72%), 96 locations, $3,597 average, Total cume: $2.3M, Wk 2
  20. Te3n (Rel), 3-day: $256k, 104 locations, $2,481 average, Total cume: $258k/Wk. 1

5TH UPDATE, Sunday AM: Warner Bros. has announced that its R-rated sequel Conjuring 2 will post a $40.35M opening, off an amazingly slight 4% from the New Line original’s debut of $41.9M three years ago. Outside of the openings for Batman v. Superman and Captain America: Civil War, which bested their previous chapters’ openings, Conjuring 2 is one of the best holds for a sequel this year as many franchise installments have dropped off significantly.

Among all horror film openings, Conjuring 2 ranks third behind Conjuring and the 2009 edition of Friday the 13th ($40.6M), and it’s the best debut for the genre in June, beating The Purge‘s $34.1M. Conjuring 2’s Saturday came in at $14M, -15% from its $16.4M opening day. That’s a slightly better hold and Saturday gross than the 2013 version’s -18% and $13.9M day. Other studios see Conjuring 2‘s opening in the same vicinity as WB. Cinemascore projects Conjuring 2’s final domestic take between $102M-$144M. The first movie made $137.4M stateside and a profit north of $161M. 

conjuring 2 social ad

How does a film without any social media or horror marketing stunts to speak of, open to such heights? Typically, horror distribs hold haunted houses at movie theaters, or concoct a novel social media promo which goes viral (read, Lionsgate’s The Last Exorcism‘s Chatroulette shrieking ghost six years ago).

Rivals like to knock Warner Bros. saying that they always spend for the No. 1  win. But that’s not necessarily the case here with Conjuring 2 with iSpot.TV showing that the Burbank, CA-based studio shelled out an estimated $14.7M on TV spots and media to Universal’s $22.3M on Warcraft and Lionsgate’s $17.5M on Now You See Me 2.

The primary hook in Conjuring 2‘s marketing boiled down to Warner Bros. selling the sequel based on the pic’s ghostbusting protags the Warrens as a modern-day Mulder and Scully. One rival exec we spoke to this morning initially thought that was a risky way to go, but gives Warner Bros. credit for making it work. Also working in Warner Bros./New Line favor is that there hasn’t been a massive horror film like this in quite some time at the B.O.

Speaking about Conjuring 2‘s success this morning, domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein says, “It starts with a compelling story. Director James Wan is awesome in telling stories and he has a fan base that follows him.” Relish Mix concurs that Conjuring 2‘s success boils down to Wan’s fandom; that many of his PR stops have gone viral. Relish Mix also notices in the sequel’s social conversation, “The fact Conjuring 2 is based on true events has piqued the audience’s interest. Fans are looking up online material related to the Enfield case and tossing the links into their comments.”

“This genre film is much more broad than others. It reminds me of The Exorcist in how that was more compelling for a wider audience,” adds Goldstein.

Universal is reporting $24.4M for Duncan Jones’ Warcraft in second place. This is where the studio figured the bigscreen brawl between humans and orcs would file B.O. wise. The bigger play for this $160M production +$110M P&A vehicle is overseas.  Global B.O. currently stands at $286.1M with 55% coming from China. Industry sources tell Deadline that breakeven is at $500M worldwide. CinemaScore sees the final domestic endgame for this videogame adaptation between $57M-$81M.

Said Uni domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou this morning, “I think what we’re seeing is a trend toward the globalization of movies, not marginalizing the U.S. but where films are made for the entire world. It brings into perspective where the relative strengths come from, and the U.S., while continuing to be extraordinarily important, is one of many.”

We’ve seen smaller genre films built for overseas’ audiences, but in regards to huge Hollywood $100M-plus tentpoles that rely on China’s B.O. power more than the U.S. — Warcraft is arguably just the beginning. STX has the Jackie Chan movie The Foreigner directed by Martin Campbell on the horizon.

Uni, even in its marketing materials, centered on World of Warcraft subscribers. In exit polls last night, 53% were fans of the video game, a factor that skewed higher among young males at 65%.  A majority of those under 17 loved the movie at 58%, while under 30 adored it at 54%. Fans of Warcraft preferred to watch this movie in 3D at 45% with 18% being generated by Imax 3D.

Per Relish Mix, Blizzard Entertainment and World of Warcraft gaming pages were a plus in pumping up word of mouth. Blizzard’s social power counts 3.5M fans. There was also a tribute to the game on YouTube by videogame social media star PewDiePie which clocked 3.3M views. Fans of the game lambasted critics reactions on Twitter. Among the film’s top social media stars, Paula Patton promoted Warcraft to her 1M fans along with director Duncan Jones.

Lionsgate sees the FSS for Now You See Me 2 at $23M. In relation to its 2013 edition, Now You See Me 2‘s opening is also considered to be on the healthier side for a sequel this year, off just -22% from Now You See Me‘s $29.4M.

now you see me 2

Speaking about the sequel’s holding ability, Lionsgate domestic theatrical distribution co-president Richie Fay says, “The original movie did very well in the home entertainment market. To some degree it expanded our audience and we’re playing younger here. It’s a combination of factors, but being a good movie doesn’t hurt.”

There are some who believe adding Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe to the ensemble brought his fanbase to NYSM2. Relish Mix noticed that trailers and clips were passed around at a light rate of 4:1 (the average is 10:1). The social media stars with the largest amount of followers (and who are engaged) across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were Sanaa Lathan (9.4M) and Mark Ruffalo (7.6M).

Combined with overseas, NYSM2 opened to $45.8M. CinemaScore projects a final domestic B.O. between $63M-$88M, which would be 25% to 46% below the first edition’s $117.7M domestic B.O. Saturday held quite well for NYSM2 with $8.2M, down just 2%. NYSM2 lured in a similar older female crowd on par with the first movie: 54% women, 55% over 25 according to CinemaScore’s Friday night report.

Even though there’s something decent to be said about this sequel’s opening, here’s the sting with NYSM2: There are some who do not consider this film to be a slam dunk fireworks-win for Lionsgate. Rival sources tell me that NYSM2 cost $120M before P&A,with foreign sales covering 65% before tax credits. Lionsgate insiders swear the cost is at $100M. While not a complete Gods of Egypt disaster ($140M production cost, $142M global B.O.) there are those in foreign sales who continue to miss the Hunger Games and Twilight salad days.

The studio-reported Sunday estimates for June 10-12:

1). Conjuring 2 (WB/NL), 3,343 theaters / $16.4M Fri. (includes $3.4M previews) / $14M Sat.  (-15%)/ $9.8M Sun. (-30%) /3-day cume: $40.4M/Wk 1

2). Warcraft (UNI), 3,400 theaters / $10.7M Fri. (includes $3.1M previews) / $7.8M Sat. (-27%) / $5.86M Sun. (-25%) /3-day cume: $24.4M/Wk 1

3). Now You See Me 2 (LG), 3,232 theaters / $8.4M Fri. (includes $1.75M previews) / $8.2M Sat.  (-2%)/ $6.4M Sun. (-22%) /3-day cume: $23M/Wk 1

4). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (PAR), 4,071 theaters (0) / $4M Fri.  / $6M Sat./ $4.77M Sun.  /3-day cume: $14.8M (-58%)/Total: $61M/Wk 2

5). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 3,585 theaters (-568) / $2.77M Fri. /$4.3M Sat. / $2.9M Sun.  / 3-day cume: $10M (-56%) /Total cume: $136.4M/Wk 3

6). Me Before You (MGM/New Line/WB), 2,762 theaters  (+58)/ $3.1M Fri. / $3.5M Sat. (-21%) / $2.6M Sun. /3-day cume: $9.2M (-51%)/Total cume: $36.8M/Wk 2

7). The Angry Birds Movie (SONY/ROVIO), 3,083 theaters (-401)/ $1.86M Fri. /$2.76M Sat. / $2.1M Sun. / 3-day cume: $6.7M (-34%)/Total cume: $98.2M/ Wk 4

8). Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney), 2,898 theaters (-865)/ $1.6M Fri. / $2.3M Sat.  / $1.6M Sun. /3-day cume: $5.5M (-51%)/Total: $62.4M/Wk 3

9). Captain America: Civil War (Disney), 2,101 theaters (-983) / $1.1M Fri. /$1.9M Sat. / $1.2M Sun. / 3-day cume: $4.3M (-45%) /Total cume: $396.9M/ Wk 6

10). The Jungle Book (DIS), 1,496 theaters (-494) / $736K Fri. / $1.1M Sat. / $816K Sun.  /3-day cume: $2.7M (-39%)/ Total cume: $352.6M / Wk 9

11/12). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (UNI), 1,581 theaters (-836)/ $673K Fri. / $860K Sat. / $602K Sun./3-day cume: $2.1M (-56%)/Total cume: $53.1M/ Wk 4

The Nice Guys (WB), 1,147 theaters (-741)/ $550K Fri./ $940K Sat. / $610K Sun./3-day cume: $2.1M (-39%)/Total: $32.6M/ Wk 4

13). Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping (UNI), 2,313 theaters (+2) / $498K Fri. / $716K Sat./ $502K Sun.  /3-day cume: $1.7M (-64%)/Total cume: $8.3M/Wk 2

14.) Love & Friendship (AMZ/RSA), 826 theaters (+7) / $394K Fri.  / $644K Sat. / $482K Sun.  /3-day cume: $1.52M (-29%) /Total cume: $9.5M/Wk 5

15.) The Lobster (A24), 560 theaters (0) / $238K Fri. /$419K Sat./ $335K Sun. / 3-day cume: $991K (-32%)/Total cume: $5.55M/Wk 5

4TH Writethru, Saturday, AM: Sequelitis isn’t as severe this weekend as it was with such recent openings as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Warner Bros./New Line’s Conjuring 2 is beating its projections from earlier in the week with a No. 1 take of $38.3M at 3,343 theaters (revised as of this morning). It’s down 9% from its 2013 predecessor’s $41.9M opening. Outside of any sequel debut that rose this year (Captain America: Civil War, Batman v. Superman) in comparison to its previous installment, Conjuring 2′s opening is the best hold for a sequel so far this year.

Even though it’s set to rank third, Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2‘s  current estimated $23.3M opening at 3,232 isn’t bad either, just -21% off from the $29.4M debut of its first movie. Word of mouth remains strong for both titles. Like their 2013 editions, both Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 received A- CinemaScores.

Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2 cost between $90M-$100M before P&A, which is 25%-plus higher than Now You See Me. Lionsgate committed its heart and soul to this heist film, which perplexes some rival chiefs since it’s not seen as a huge brand in the Hunger Games or Twilight league. The distributor has already announced a third movie with the sequel’s director Jon M. Chu. Lionsgate spotlighted  Now You See Me 2 during its CinemaCon presentation with David Copperfield performing magic before a screening. However, the movie was suddenly evacuated after a suspicious item was found at Caesars Palace Colosseum theater. Luckily that episode didn’t curse Now You See Me 2‘s long term prospects. Similar to the first movie, Now You See Me 2 hooked an older female crowd at 54% women, 55% over 25. Those CinemaScore audiences making their way to the theater for the actor ensemble of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco and Woody Harrelson represented 20% of all ticket buyers. Sixty-three percent of those watching were fans of the original.

Conjuring 2 director James Wan is a master auteur for genre aficionados, having crafted a ghostbuster sequel that’s every bit as good as the original. The 2013 movie cost $19.5M to make, and yielded a worldwide gross of $318M and a profit after TV/pay-cable and home entertainment revenues of $161M-plus. The R-rated sequel comes with a production cost of $40M and I hear it has a thrifty stateside P&A in the low $30M range as New Line knows exactly how to reach horror fans. Conjuring 2 premiered recently at the Los Angeles Film Festival.  Audience make-up here looks very similar to the first film with 52% females turning up and 57% over 25. Horror fans comprised 71% of the audience. It’s interesting to note that actors Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson respectively pulled in big numbers at 20% and 26%. Their figures increased significantly from the first movie when they each drew 3% and 2%.

Warcraft‘s industry forecasts have simmered down from yesterday’s hype to an estimated $25.7M opening weekend in second place at 3,400 theaters. Yes, that’s an awful domestic opening for a film that cost $160M, but the Universal-Legendary co-production was built to reap the majority of its cost back from China where close to half of the game’s 5.6M fans reside. As of this morning, China is on fire with a four-day B.O. of $145M. Deadline hears that Warcraft could end its run in the Middle Kingdom with $200M-$250M. In total a $500M global tally gets this ambitious humans vs. orcs story at break-even. Uni and Legendary rolled Warcraft out abroad first to avoid any stateside damage. Too often if a film bombs here, it can poison its tills abroad.

ducan jones

Still, why aren’t Warcraft‘s grosses higher here in the states? The pic’s inability to resonate in the U.S. can’t be solely blamed on its wacky one sheets which look like Braveheart meets Green Lantern‘s Kilowog. Essentially time ran out on this franchise.  Consider the fact that the game was first introduced in 1994 and that Legendary acquired rights for the Blizzard Entertainment game ten years ago. That’s when World of Warcraft subscribers were showing an enormous upswing moving from 1.5M worldwide in 2005 to 7M in 2006. The game hit its peak of 12M subs in 2010 and has declined since. Legendary realized they had a serious fanboy property on their hands, and took the time to get it right. When Legendary snapped up World of Warcraft, feature rights for videogames were all the rage. At the time, Uni and Fox shelled out $5M against 10% of the gross to Microsoft for the videogame Halo.  By October 2009, Sam Raimi was circling Warcraft with Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat penning. The film was initially set for a 2009 release and was teased at various BlizzCons and Comic-cons throughout the years, but it stalled when Raimi departed. In addition, Blizzard had concerns that the humans vs. orcs plot was too close to Lord of the Rings. By Comic-con 2011, Warcraft was relegated to treatment status. In 2013, Duncan Jones championed to direct and won Blizzard over on the idea that Warcraft should have a common humanity between orcs and humans. He worked closely with Charles Leavitt on the screenplay. Filming took place from January to May 2014 in Vancouver. In April 2014, China Film Co. Ltd. made an eight-figure equity stake in Warcraft. 

warcraft 2

According to ComScore’s PostTrak, Warcraft definitely pulled in the gamers who repped 31% of the opening day crowd. Warcraft landed a B+ CinemaScore, which beats the grades of such videogame pics and sequels as Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Hitman. Even though distribution executives have been stressing over Rotten Tomatoes’ impact at the box office, one non-Uni suit asserts that Warcraft is critic-proof and won’t be dinged by its 27% rotten score. The under 18 bunch, who repped only 9% of the crowd, gave Warcraft an A-. Sixty four percent of those watching humans and orcs go at each other were males, with 64% over 25. The over 50 crowd, who would typically be hard on a property such as Warcraft, gave the Ben Foster-Paula Patton movie a B+. Sixty-six percent of those who attended did so because they’re familiar with the videogame.

Warcraft clocked $10.7M on Friday, and looks to make $8.6M today and $6.4M on Sunday. In sum, it’s front-loaded, just like Conjuring 2.

The top 15 films and notables per industry estimates for June 10-12 as of Saturday morning:

1). Conjuring 2 (WB/NL), 3,343 theaters / $16.4M Fri. (includes $3.4M previews) / 3-day cume: $38.3M/Wk 1

2). Warcraft (UNI/LEG), 3,400 theaters / $10.7M Fri. (includes $3.1M previews) / 3-day cume: $25.7M/Wk 1

3). Now You See Me 2 (LG), 3,232 theaters / $8.4M Fri. (includes $1.75M previews) / 3-day cume: $23.3M/Wk 1

4). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (PAR), 4,071 theaters / $4M Fri. (-68%) / 3-day cume: $13.9M (-61%)/Total Cume:$60.1M/Wk 2

5). X-Men: Apocalypse (FOX), 3,585 theaters (-568) / $2.7M Fri. (-58%) / 3-day cume: $9.5M (-58%) /Total cume: $135.6M/Wk 3

6). Me Before You (MGM/New Line/WB), 2,762 theaters (+58) / $3.1M Fri. (-60%) / 3-day cume: $9.3M (-50%)/Total cume: $36.8M/Wk 2

7). The Angry Birds Movie (SONY/ROVIO), 3,083 theaters (-401)/ $1.8M Fri. (-32%) / 3-day cume: $6.8M (-33%)/Total cume: $98.3M/ Wk 4

8). Alice Through the Looking Glass (Disney), 2,898 theaters (-865)/ $1.6M Fri. (-50%) / 3-day cume: $5.8M (-49%)/Total: $62.7M/Wk 3

9). Captain America: Civil War (Disney), 2,101 theaters (-983) / $1.1M Fri. (-48%)/ 3-day cume: $4.3M (-45%) /Total cume: $396.8M/ Wk 6

10). The Jungle Book (DIS), 1,496 theaters (-494) / $731K Fri. (-34%) / 3-day cume: $2.7M (-39%)/ Total cume: $352.6M / Wk 9

11). Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (UNI), 1,581 theaters (-836)/ $658K Fri. (-56%)/ 3-day cume: $2.1M (-57%)/Total cume: $53.1M/ Wk 4

12.) The Nice Guys (WB), 1,147 theaters (-741)/ $547K Fri. (-43%) / 3-day cume: $1.97M (-43%)/Total: $32.5M/ Wk 4

13). Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping (UNI), 2,313 theaters (+2) / $492K Fri. (-72%) / 3-day cume: $1.5M (-68%)/Total cume: $8.1M/Wk 2

14.) Love & Friendship (AMZ/RSA), 826 theaters (+7) / $397k Fri. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $1.4M (-33%) /Total cume: $9.4M/Wk 5

15.) The Lobster (A24), 560 theaters (0) / $237K Fri. (-41%)/ 3-day cume: $867K (-40%)/Total cume: $5.4M/Wk 5

genius-photo

NOTABLES:

Te3n (BIGP), 105 theaters / $74k Fri. / 3-day cume: $237k/Wk 1

Genius (RSA), 16 theaters / $26k Fri. / 3-day cume: $86k/Wk 1

DePalma (A24), 3 theaters / $11k Fri. / 3-day cume: $35k/PTA: $12k/Wk 1

The Music of Strangers (ORCH), 3 theaters / $6k Fri. / 3-day cume: $20k/PTA: $7k/Wk 1

Diary of a Chambermaid (CMG), 2 theaters / $3k Fri. / 3-day cume: $10k/PTA: $5k/Wk 1

Warcraft
Legendary Pictures

2ND UPDATE, Friday 12:12 PM: Don’t underestimate the power of Universal-Legendary’s $160M beast WarcraftThe movie adaptation of the Blizzard Entertainment video game franchise is coming on strong in its matinees, potentially slotting second place with $31M for the weekend behind Warner Bros./New Line’s The Conjuring 2, which is eyeing $33M-$35M. Heading into the weekend, the assessment was that interest in Warcraft had waned among its fan base, which peaked back in 2010 with more than 12M subscribers. That figure has settled to 5.6M. Yet one studio executive says that out of this weekend’s three wide entries, Warcraft is the title with the most fan engagement and brand value. ComScore’s PostTrak observed in its early polls that 31% of those who watched Warcraft identified themselves as serious gamers. Guys are crowding showtimes at 72%. I now hear that the appropriate break-even for Warcraft given its P&A of $110M and $160M production cost is around $500M at the global B.O., not $400M or $450M. Foreign sources think China ultimately could cash in $200M-$250M by the end of its run. Through Sunday, the total international B.O. for the Duncan Jones-helmed movie should stand at $250M-$270M.

As we always footnote, everything could shift up or down based on Friday matinees, but this is how things look at this point in time. The question is: How front-loaded are the figures for Conjuring 2 and Warcraft? Are Warcraft‘s numbers currently beefed up by advance ticket sales? We’ll see. Some have Warcraft as low as $27M for the weekend, but again, the whole play on this film was always foreign with China being the biggest fan of the game. Conjuring 2 is looking at a $14M Friday, while Warcraft‘s opening day is ranging between $11M-$13M.

PostTrak shows Conjuring 2 skewing more men at 54% to the first chapter’s 51% women. It has a total positive score of 74% and a definite recommend of 53%. Warcraft in early polls has a 78% total positive and 56% definite thumbs up.

now you see me 2

Meanwhile, Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2 looks to be hitting between $20M-$25M for the weekend and a Friday of $8.5M. Should the sequel hit the high-end of its current weekend projection, it’s one of the better holds for a sequel this year, off a fantastic 16% from the $29.3M opening of 2013’s Now You See Me. I hear exits on PostTrak are as strong as they were on the first movie.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is being battered by all the frosh competition for males. It’s likely to fall by 60% in its second frame for $14M and a 10-day run of $60.3M. MGM/New Line’s Me Before You is seeing a sharper drop in its sophomore sesh, projected off Friday matinees to be 50% to 55% or $11.5M-$12.8M.

20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse in its third outing looks to hit $10M for a 17-day haul of $136.4M.

1ST UPDATE, Friday 7:06 AM:This weekend at the box office, it’s a throwdown among undead spirits; a pierced, Orc-looking guy; and a group of thieving magicians.

The Conjuring 2
Warner Bros Pictures

Warner Bros says that New Line’s The Conjuring 2 drew $3.4M last night at roughly 2,700 theaters. The sequel’s industry projection is in the low $30M, poised to take No. 1. That’s the strongest preshow result for a horror film since 2013’s The Conjuring made $3.3M. The original was a surprise hit, opening to $41.9M and legging out a 3.3 multiple to $137.4M stateside, $318M worldwide. The James Wan-directed movie earned an A- CinemaScore — which is unheard of for a horror movie. Quite often if a horror film earns a B+, that’s fantastic. Critics gave the first Conjuring an 86% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, and the sequel carries a 74% grade. Women are the target audience for Conjuring 2, after Part 1 drew 53% females, 59% over 25. Many analysts see Conjuring 2 meeting its opening weekend forecast, but there is a faction who believe that in certain horror aficionados’ minds, the sequel, also by Wan, will play like a threequel and arrive in the high $20Ms, following the release of 2014’s Annabelle. Even though that was a spinoff movie, some Conjuring fans registered it as a sequel and it left a bad taste in the mouth of the franchise fans, earning a B CinemaScore and a 29% pan by critics. Annabelle posted a great opening at $37.1M but had shorter legs with a 2.3 multiple and $84.3M domestic B.O. — still a huge hit considering its $6.5M production cost.

Warcraft

Universal is reporting that Legendary’s feature adaptation of the popular video game Warcraft collected $3.1M last night from 2,632 theaters. Industry projections have the pic’s domestic opening in the low $20MsWarcraft already has broken records in China with a $90M two-day haul and has cleared close to $80M in offshore markets for a total of $170M overseas. Warcraft is booked at 3,396 venues and also counts Imax and 3D in its mix. Who’s watching Warcraft? “It’s a videogamer’s movie,” says one distribution exec.

How does Thursday’s figure for Warcraft stack up comp-wise? It’s higher than the $2.1M made by Paramount’s Hercules, which won on to make $29.8M, and it’s lower than World War Z’s $3.6M preview night ($66.4M FSS) and also Pacific Rim‘s $3.6M too ($37.3M FSS). Uni and Legendary co-financed Warcraft, which cost $160M and carries a global P&A in vicinity of $110M. Some industry sources say it will need $450M before the Duncan Jones movie hits break-even. It always was expected that Warcraft would come up short here in the U.S., given the wane of the video game’s heyday here. Overall, global subscribers for World of Warcraft have fallen during this decade, from a high of 12M in 2010 to 5.6M last summer. A lot of that has to do with the game’s expansion packs, which can wildly deflate or spike subscribers.

China was always a valuable market for the Blizzard Entertainment game, counting roughly half of its worldwide subs. At one point in 2011, China counted 3.2M subscribers, up from 1.5M in 2005. As one razor-sharp executive said of Warcraft‘s B.O. prospects earlier this week: “It’s about whether or not it will turn out OK worldwide or be a complete bomb. Don’t drink the juice and believe that it’s really more than it is.”

In pre-sales, Fandango is showing Conjuring 2 and Warcraft neck-in-neck.

now you see me 2

Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2the sequel to its 2013 magician-heist movie, made $1.75M. That beats the first film’s $1.5M preview night; it went on to a $29.4M opening and a $117.7M domestic cume. This installment is expected to make in the mid- to high-$20M range, however, one observer thinks it could truly pop and surprise. Let’s leave it at that for now. Critics were divided on the first one at 49% Rotten Tomatoes score, but aren’t that thrilled about the sequel at 35%. Now You See Me received an A- CinemaScore, and while it seemed to be flying under the radar prior to its release, Rentrak’s (now comScore) PreAct noticed that Lionsgate’s marketing materials were clicking on social media, and that the Louis Leterrier-directed movie was bound to break out.

Among films already in play on Thursday, Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows led the day with $2.2M and a week’s total of $46.2M. The film is expected to decline at least 50% from its opening weekend for a second FSS of $17.7M and a 10-day run of $63.9M.

The Conjuring 2 is expected to steal women away from MGM/New Line’s Me Before Youhence the Emilia Clarke-Sam Claflin romance will see a -45% hold for a $10.3M weekend and a 10-day total of $37.9M.