Marking another blow for Hollywood's tentpole strategy, New Line's $20 million horror pic "The Conjuring" raced to a $41.5 million North American debut, while "R.I.P.D." limped to a seventh-place finish despite costing at least $130 million to produce.
"The Conjuring," directed by horror maestro James Wan, did far better than expected and is a major win for New Line and Warner Bros. The R-rated movie, earning an A- CinemaScore, stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators who help a family terrorized by a dark force. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor also star.
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"R.I.P.D.," from Universal, opened to a dismal $12.8 million domestically. Robert Schwentke's action-comedy is the summer's latest big-budget bomb, and stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as deceased police officers who must protect the living from evil spirits who refuse to move on. The pic, drawing comparisons to "Men in Black," earned a C+ CinemaScore.
Universal can certainly withstand a financial hit, considering the profits it will earn from "Fast & Furious 6" and "Despicable Me 2." And once the studio saw that "R.I.P.D." was in trouble, it scaled back its marketing spend.
"R.I.P.D." wasn't the weekend's only disappointment as both "Turbo" and "Red 2" underperformed in their domestic openings.
"Turbo," facing an unprecedented glut of animated product, grossed $21.5 million for the weekend to come in No. 3 and $31.2 million for the five-day stretch (it opened on Wednesday). From DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox, "Turbo" marks one of the lowest domestic openings for a DWA title and lost the weekend itself to megahit "Despicable 2."
It is, however, off to a strong start overseas, grossing $22.6 million from 28 international territories representing 25 percent of the marketplace.
"Despicable 2" came in No. 2 in its third weekend, grossing a sensational $25.1 million for a domestic total of $276.1 million.
"Turbo" opens only two weeks after "Despicable Me 2" and four weeks after "Monsters University." Fox is counting on "Turbo" to have strong legs, noting that it received a glowing A CinemaScore and an A+ from moviegoers under age 18.
The film, directed by David Soren and costing $135 million to produce, is about an ordinary garden snail whose dream of racing in the Indianapolis 500 comes true. Reynolds voices the title role; Paul Giamatti, Snoop Dogg, Michael Pena, Maya Rudolph, Michelle Rodriguez and Samuel L. Jackson also lend their voices. DWA is playing up the fact that "Turbo" is an original story.
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"Red 2" opened to $18.4 million to come in No. 5, not enough to match the $21.7 million opening of "Red" in 2010. Summit made a major gamble in moving the sequel to the summer; "Red" launched in October. The follow-up cost $84 million to produce.
"Red 2's" impressive cast includes Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The movie earned a B+ CinemaScore.
Schwentke directed 2010's "Red," which grossed nearly $200 million worldwide; Dean Parisot is in the director's chair this time.
First published July 21 2013, 9:16 AM