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Whisper Numbers: The Conjuring heads a crowded weekend

The packed summer movie season has already claimed several under-performing victims, but that won’t stop four new films from opening this weekend in search of box office. The winner may turn out to be the one with the smallest budget.  Horror films rarely open in the heart of summer, but Warner Bros. delayed the release of The Conjuring [CNJUR] from January due to excellent test screenings. The R-rated haunted house tale stars Patrick Wilson [PWILS] and Vera Farmiga [VFARM] as the real-life Warren couple who investigated paranormal activities for decades. After the success of Saw and Insidious, director James Wan [JWAN] has become a trusted name for horror fans. The positive buzz has been building for months and The Conjuring has been pegged as a genuine scary movie. Debuting in 2903 theaters, The Conjuring could take in $35 million to lead the pack.

Produced by DreamWorks Animation, Turbo [TURB1] is the fourth 3D animated film of the summer and the second released by Fox after Epic. Ryan Reynolds [RREYN] voices a snail that dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500. The original premise is too outlandish to attract an audience other than families with young children. Turbo is also unfortunately opening right after the blockbuster sequels Monster University and Despicable Me 2. Even with positive reviews, parents may elect to take a break this weekend.  The PG-rated film opened on Wednesday and grossed $5.6 million. Turbo could charge up $26 million over the weekend from 3806 locations.

Red 2 [RED2] brings back Bruce Willis [BWILL], Helen Mirren [HMIRR] and John Malkovich [JMALK] from Summit’s 2010 sleeper hit. The first film opened to $21.8 million in October, but the sequel faces more competition in July.  The PG-13 rated action comedy appeals to older adults that do not rush out on opening weekend. Playing in 3016 theaters, Red 2 may blow out $22 million.

With a new competition for the family audience, Despicable Me 2 [DESM2] may drop 55% in its third weekend to $20 million. The Universal sequel will still become the biggest animated earner of 2013.

The fanboys turned out for Pacific Rim [PACRM], but not many other segments of moviegoers. The sci-fi film looks to drop more than 50% in its second weekend to $18 million.

Ryan Reynolds has a second new release this weekend in the PG-13 rated action fantasy R.I.P.D. [RIPD] opposite Jeff Bridges [JBRID]. The two play ex-lawmen whose job is to protect the world against ghosts in basically a supernatural version of M.I.B.. The Universal film is so similar to M.I.B. that moviegoers have displayed little interest in the copycat.  Showing in 2852 theaters, R.I.P.D. may rest in peace with no more than $15 million.

That’s the whisper from the virtual trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, July 18, 2013 @ 03:24 PM 3022 views

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