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Linda Cardellini in The Curse of La Llorona

This past weekend, the latest film in Warner Bros. and New Line’s Conjuring Universe, The Curse of La Llorona, opened to a solid $26.5 million. That exceeds expectations considering that some predictions had it struggling to make $20 million. And yet, the overperformance of The Curse of La Llorona was not enough to stop this year’s Easter weekend box office from being the worst in over a decade.

Including The Curse of La Llorona’s solid debut, the domestic box office returns over the holiday weekend amounted to an estimated $103 million. According to The Wrap, that’s down 22% from last Easter when Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Ready Player One was the big release. That $103 million is also the lowest the Easter weekend box office has been since 2005, when it totaled only $99 million, with the Ashton Kutcher comedy Guess Who leading the charge with $20 million.

It is true that the box office is in a slump this year compared to the highs of recent years, but this low Easter box office seems less a product of that and more the result of the calm before the Avengers: Endgame storm. Studios gave the Marvel event a wide berth, lest their films get snapped out of existence. So other than The Curse of La Llorona, the only other new wide releases over Easter weekend were Breakthrough and Penguins.

The faith-based Breakthrough capitalized on the Easter holiday with a third-place debut of $11 million. The latest Disneynature doc Penguins opened last Wednesday in advance of Monday’s Earth Day and made $2.4 million over the holiday weekend. A low-budget horror movie, a faith-based film and a nature doc are not exactly blockbusters to begin with, and the fact that Avengers: Endgame releases this week seems to have depressed audience turnout, with everyone preparing for the 3-hour MCU epic.

It wasn’t all bad though. Captain Marvel, which fell out of the top 5 last weekend, returned at number 4 over Easter, jumping 6% week over week to $9.1 million. That helped push the record-breaking film over $400 million domestic. That increase is perhaps the result of an Avengers: Endgame bump, as audiences rewatch MCU titles or get caught up before next week.

The Curse of La Llorona did manage to push Shazam! out of the top spot in its third weekend in release, but the DC superhero flick still pulled in $17 million to add to its solid run. Perhaps if last week’s Hellboy hadn’t crashed and burned so spectacularly in its opening, this Easter weekend box office wouldn’t have been the worst in 14 years. Alas, the attempted comic book reboot dropped 68% in its second weekend.

Despite this past weekend’s disappointing returns, in keeping with the spirit of the Easter holiday, the box office will rise again next weekend. Avengers: Endgame arrives on April 26 and all signs are pointing towards a massive opening ($300 million y’all, I think it’s happening), with some theaters running round the clock screenings over the weekend.

Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see all the big summer movies looking to help the box office rebound and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

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