When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
Even though it follows the same haunted characters seen in the 2013 original, The Conjuring 2 became a charmed project the moment James Wan agreed to come back as director. That was not a given: Wan, the helmer behind the horror hits Saw and Insidious, was coming off Fast 7, the Universal franchise installment that grossed $1.3 billion worldwide. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga returned to reprise their roles as paranormal investigators, and the results were frightfully profitable. Let’s look at the numbers.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Conjuring franchise is alive and well for New Line Cinema, which just recently set Corin Hardy to direct a spinoff that gives the front-and -enter role to the creepy nun who was part of The Conjuring 2 and figured heavily in the marketing materials. The film opened June 10 and grossed $40.4 million domestic, just short of the original. It went on to become the highest-grossing horror film of the year and falls just short of The Exorcist for the top all-time fright slot. The Conjuring 2‘s $102 million domestic gross fell short of the $137 million delivered by the original, but the sequel’s $217 million gross far surpassed the $180 million scared up by the first film. That gave the sequel a slight edge in total gross, with $320 million. The sequel did cost twice the original’s $20 million production budget, and the return of Wan and castmembers explains the $20 million in Participations and Off-the-Tops that are high for genre films. But the bottom line is a scary windfall for New Line, which scored $98.3 million in net profit for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.54. The original spawned another spinoff, Annabelle, which is being sequelized. The entire universe of The Conjuring will certainly surpass the billion-dollar mark before the ghosts go away, which makes this one of the all-time most profitable fright franchises in movie history.