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Warner Bros.’ is looking at another strong weekend at the box office thanks to their new “Conjuring” universe entry “The Nun,” which is currently estimated to set a new franchise opening weekend record with $50 million from 3,876 screens.
Interestingly, this estimate comes in spite of very weak critical and audience reception, with reviewers giving the film about a demonic woman of the cloth just 28 percent on Rotten Tomatoes while opening night audiences stamped the film with a C on CinemaScore.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact this will have on Saturday and Sunday ticket sales this weekend, but industry estimates are still confident that the final weekend number will be higher than the $41.8 million opening for “The Conjuring 2.” Friday totals for “The Nun” clocked in at $22.3 million, including $5.4 million from Thursday previews.
WB has found big business in what is usually considered a slower period at the box office with families heading back to school. Last month, the studio successfully marketed “Crazy Rich Asians” to Asian-American audiences hungry for representation and “The Meg” to fans of campy monster flicks, and now it looks like they’ve gotten the word out on “The Nun” to the fanbase of “The Conjuring.”
The result? All three WB titles are in the top five this weekend. Below “The Nun,” “Crazy Rich Asians” is in second with an estimated $13 million in its fourth weekend. That total will push the rom-com’s domestic total to $135 million, putting it in position next week to become WB’s top domestic grosser of 2018 so far. “The Meg,” meanwhile, is looking at a third weekend of $5.2 million, putting it in fourth on the charts after a 51 percent dropoff. It now has an estimated domestic total of $130 million.
Sitting between the two WB holdovers in third place is the STX revenge film “Peppermint,” which is hitting tracker expectations with an estimated $12 million opening against a reported net production budget of around $25 million. That’s just a step below the $13.7 million opening for STX’s last action release, “Mile 22,” last month. While critics panned the film with a 14 percent RT score, audiences gave the Jennifer Garner film a better CinemaScore grade than “The Nun” with a B+.
Sony/Screen Gems’ “Searching” completes the top five with a $4.4 million third weekend after expanding to 2,009 screens. Outside the top five, Entertainment Studios’ faith-based drama has fallen below tracker expectations with an opening of just $1.2 million from 1,235 screens.