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The Nun Box Office: The Conjuring Universe Has A New Opening Weekend Record Holder

The Nun Father Burke (Demian Bichir) holds a cross

While August and September are not exactly known for housing huge movies in comparison to the rest of the calendar, Warner Bros. has done a great job countering that narrative in 2018. The studio's ongoing streak started with the super impressive launch of Jon Turteltaub's The Meg; continued with the phenomenal success of Jon Chu's Crazy Rich Asians; and now the studio is number one at the box office for the fifth week in a row thanks to Corin Hardy's The Nun. Now all three films are in the top four at the box office - as you can see below in our Top 10 chart. Check it out, and join me after for analysis.

The Nun Box Office September 7-9m 2018

The Conjuring Universe has been building up steam for about five years now, and at this point it's probably the most profitable franchise that Warner Bros. has going. One of the benefits of making horror movies is that they can generally be made well with a limited about of money (it's basically Blumhouse's entire business strategy), and thus far we have seen five reasonably-budgeted Conjuring-related releases go on to become international hits. What makes The Nun extra special, though, is the fact that it's $53.5 million earned in its first three days is a record for the brand. It successfully topped the original Conjuring, which made $41.9 million when it came out in July 2013 - though it's worth noting that the James Wan-directed feature is still the highest domestic earner in the continuity, with $137.4 million brought in.

The Nun hasn't exactly received the warmest welcome from critics, and it only got a "C" CinemaScore - which means that its success will probably be front-loaded - but already it's doubled its reported $22 million budget... and that's not even factoring in the extra $77.5 million that it's already made abroad, bringing its worldwide total up to $131 million earned so far. That's undeniably huge, and it's impressive to see how it weighs into the larger performance of The Conjuring Universe movies. All together, including The Nun, this is a franchise that has raked in $1.3 billion globally with five releases, none of them costing more than $40 million before marketing (John Leonetti's Annabelle was made for $6.5 million and it wound up making over $257 million internationally).

The Nun Father Burke (Demian Bichir) holds a cross

Surely part of The Nun's success can be attributed to the fact that it didn't have much in the way of competition - though Pierre Morel's Peppermint did... fine. Had the film earned more buzz from critics it could have done better (it has a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it has to settle for third place behind Crazy Rich Asians in its fourth week of release. This is another case where the feature benefits from not costing too much, as it was reportedly made for $25 million, but this also isn't shaping up to be a runaway hit. It may stick around for a couple weeks in the Top 10 thanks to individuals who may be bored and have a desire to see Jennifer Garner kick some ass, but it's not exactly going to be one of 2018's biggest earners.

Also deserving special mention this week is Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible - Fallout - which is now in its seventh week of release. As you can see, the movie has now made $212.1 million domestically, and while that's not a huge deal it means the blockbuster is on the verge of breaking a franchise record. Right now, the film only needs to make $3,293,123 more and it will become the biggest grosser among Mission: Impossible titles here in America. The number that it needs to surpass is the total acquired by Mission: Impossible II, which means that this is a record that has stood for nearly 20 years.

Given its opening weekend, The Nun should make somewhere between $21.4 million and $26.8 million in its next Friday to Sunday - but it will have a more significant obstacle standing in its way. Specifically, Shane Black's The Predator is ready to arrive in theaters on September 14th, along with the Paul Feig thriller A Simple Favor, Harold Cronk's Christian-themed Unbroken: Path To Redemption, and Yann Demange true-story drama White Boy Rick. Be sure to come back next Sunday to see how the new releases shake up the Top 10.

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.