The Conjuring Scares Up Viewers While R.I.P.D Scares Universal

(source warner bros)

The horror film The Conjuring, from New Line and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX), is scaring up moviegoers to the tune of $30 million after weekend estimates showed the film performing better than the $20 million analysts expected. The film, which only cost an estimated $20 million to produce, looks poised to become a box office boon for Warner Bros.

The Conjuring, directed by James Wan who made the successful low budget horror films Saw and Insidious, stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators in a classic haunted house story. The film might be benefiting from unexpected buzz due to the MPAA’s much criticized decision to give the movie an R rating for “sequences of disturbing violence and terror.” While that description might sound acceptable for an R rated film, early viewings have indicated the film has little gore or violence — by all accounts, the film is just too scary according to the MPAA.

In other news, it appears that the film R.I.P.D, which is based on Peter M. Lenkov’s comic Rest In Peace Department, is poised to break the bank for Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Universal Pictures. The film, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, cost an estimated $130 million to produce and may only make $9 million to $12 million for the weekend. However, analysts believe the loss sustained by the film won’t be as damaging as it could have been because of the studio’s successful summer films Despicable Me 2 and Fast & Furious 6.

(source dreamworks)

The weekend’s other two debuting films — Turbo and Red 2 — will likely open to box office sales totaling $20 million each, putting it right in the middle of the two extremes set by The Conjuring and R.I.P.D.

The animated film Turbo tells the story of a garden snail whose dream to race in the Indianapolis 500 becomes a reality. The film, made by DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) and 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), was made for an estimated $135 million and arrives at a time when the crowded summer landscape is already saturated with popular family animated films such as Universal’s Despicable Me 2 and Disney Pixar’s (NYSE:DIS) Monsters University. However, Fox believes that the film could sustain a successful and long run in theaters this summer due to word of mouth — the film received an A CinemaScore and an A+ from moviegoers under 18.

The action film Red 2, starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich among others, is the sequel to 2010′s Red which follows the escapades of a crew of special operatives. The original film from Summit, now a part of Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF),  did well with older audience members and made nearly $200 million worldwide — the studio is hoping for a similar response this time around.

Red, like Red 2, made around $20 million in its opening weekend so the sequel might find legs during the long summer season like its predecessor did. However, unlike the original which was released in October, Red 2′s summer release into a crowded box office might make it harder to find the same level of success.

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