The forces of good neatly trounced the forces of mediocre this weekend as The Conjuring, James Wan's based-on-a-true-story creeper, pulled in a scary-good $41.5 million. That's a new record for R-rated horror, and proof that word-of-mouth, strong reviews, and night-vision shots of audiences crapping their pants in pure, comical terror can really make a difference over a crowded few days at the box-office. Also worth noting: Not only did The Conjuring double its very modest budget in just three days, it also made slightly more than the much, much more expensive Pacific Rim—also a Warner Bros. release—did just a week ago. The good news, at least for those who enjoy long, sleepless nights of studying the suspicious-looking shadows creeping out from behind their bedroom door, is that The Conjuring 2: Terror Train To Amityville can't be far from a green-light. The bad news is that Pacific Rim: Year Zero won't be a thing.
In the zero-sum game of ticket sales, R.I.P.D. was the weekend's big loser; ghosted-out viewers evidently had no room in their schedule for two films about malevolent spirits. Then again, maybe it was the abysmal reviews or the whiff of flagrant (and fragrant!) imitation that kept audiences away from these galaxy defenders, who landed all way down at number seven on the charts with a frighteningly awful $12.7 million. Adding insult to injury, Robert Schwentke's paranormal police comedy also lost to Red 2, a sequel to a movie Schwentke directed. The Bruce Willis I'm-too-old-for-this-shit action vehicle came in fifth with $18.5 million, which seems about right for the sequel to a movie no one thought was popular enough to inspire a sequel.
Turbo also stalled at the starting line, making just $21.5 million over five days and eating the dust of Despicable Me 2 (which pulled in another $25 million, bringing its total to a staggering $276 million). Turbo joins the esteemed company of Epic and Monsters University on a list of summer animated movies trounced by the Minions. Read between the lines and the lesson becomes clear: Mollusks, who appear in all three of the also-rans, are not big box-office draws.
Proving that reviews do matter, at least when it comes to limited-release fare, the certified rotten indies Girl Most Likely ($736,000 on 353 screens) and Only God Forgives ($315,000 on 78 screens) made inauspicious debuts. Meanwhile, the glowingly reviewed Fruitvale Station outgrossed both of them in its second week, drumming up a fantastic $742,000 on 34 screens. And way down towards the bottom of the charts was the disturbing documentary The Act Of Killing, which made $28,100 on just one screen—enough to reportedly claim the year's highest per-screen average for a doc. In terms of true scariness, clapping ghosts have nothing on gleefully unrepentant mass murderers.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.