The low-budget sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 opened to stellar numbers this weekend at the North American box office. The film easily displaced last week’s champ Riddick and left fellow newcomer The Family in the dust. Thanks to Insidious: Chapter 2, the top ten jumped up a healthy 41% from last week’s dismal numbers as well as a solid 34% over last year at this time.
Two years ago a small independent feature named Insidious arrived on the scene with a respectable-but-not-great $13 million debut. Then something happened: the movie displayed some fantastic legs over the next several weeks (normally, horror films drop like a rock over successive weeks). The final tally for the James Wan-directed feature was $54 million, a total that may not seem like much until you consider how much the production cost: $1.5 million. Add another $43 million in global sales and FilmDistrict wanted to bottle the formula and try it again.
That wish was granted this past weekend with Insidious: Chapter 2. The $5 million production reunites director Wan, hot off of this summer’s sleeper hit The Conjuring and the stars of the 2011 original, Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson. Despite receiving little love from the nation’s critics (36% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the fans of the original showed up in droves at 3,049 theaters to show their support for the newest chapter. Taking advantage of the Friday the 13th release date, Insidious: Chapter 2 earned an estimated $41 million this weekend.
A whopping $20 million of that gross came in on Friday, with Saturday dropping a steep 32% to $13.5 million and Sunday down a steeper 45% to $7.3 million. Horror films, especially sequels, tend to be front-loaded at the box office so the drop off is not all that surprising. Even if the movie continues to burn out at an accelerated rate, two things are for certain. The first is that this movie is already profitable. The second is that chances are pretty good you will see a third film in 2015.
In second place this weekend was the other new wide release, the crime comedy The Family. Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Luc Besson, the R-rated mob comedy was met with indifference from critics (33% on Rotten Tomatoes) and ticket buyers despite the presence of stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. The $30 million Relativity Films production opened on 3,091 screens to earn a mild $14.5 million. While the overall weekend total is respectable for this time of the year, The Family’s box office prospects may be short-lived. Ticket buyers gave the movie a “C” rating on CinemaScore and business on Saturday was down from Friday’s numbers. Both are indicators that those who did venture out on opening day to see the film didn’t have too many kind words for it after they left the theater.
After landing in first place last weekend with moderate success, Universal’s Riddick dropped to third place in its sophomore session. The third chapter of the Vin Diesel franchise lost a big 63% of its audience this weekend as the movie earned an estimated $7 million on 3,117 screens. To date Riddick has earned a so-so $31.2 million and should wind down domestically with roughly $42 million. Overseas, the movie has earned $22 million so far.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler landed in fourth place while crossing the $100 million mark in the process. Now in its fifth weekend of release, The Butler eased a mere 33% from last weekend to gross $5.5 million on 3,239 screens. With strong word-of-mouth sustaining the drama, The Butler should continue to bring in the bucks throughout September and well into October, and make its way to at least $130 million by the end of its run.
Another late summer hit that refuses to go away is Warner’s comedy smash We’re the Millers. Off only 29% from last weekend, the drug comedy landed in fifth place to earn an estimated $5.4 million from 3,238 screens. After six weeks of release, the film has earned $131.6 million and could catch up and possibly surpass The Heat’ s $158 million gross to become the number one comedy of the summer.
The remainder of the top ten is as follows: 6. Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate) $4.2 million (-48%); $26.5 million
7. Planes (Disney) $3 million (-25%); $83 million
8. One Direction: This is Us (Sony) $2.4 million (-41%); $26.8 million
9. Elysium (Sony) $2 million (-35%); $88.3 million
10. Percy Jackson 2 (Fox) $1.8 million (-25%); $62 million
Next weekend sees the opening of Battle of the Year, Prisoners, the 3D IMAX reissue of 1939’s The Wizard of Oz and the limited release of Ron Howard’s racing drama Rush. Will Battle of the Year or Prisoners knock Insidious: Chapter 2 from the number one spot? It all depends on how well the horror hit holds up.
– Shawn Fitzgerald