Box office: Ghosts kill Jeff Bridges, Helen Mirren, etc.

Lili Taylor, from "The Conjuring," screamed her way to the top of the box office this weekend. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Lili Taylor, from “The Conjuring,” screamed her way to the top of the box office this weekend.
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

“The Conjuring,” a low-budget horror movie about a haunted farmhouse, spooked three pricey competitors and the “Despicable Me” minions to win a crowded weekend box office contest at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

“Conjuring” soared past forecasts with $41.5 million in domestic ticket sales in its first three days, the highest take among four new films, according to studio estimates. The strong performance from “Conjuring” knocked two-time champion “Despicable Me 2″ to second place with $25.1 million.

Both movies topped the weak results for big-budget entries “Turbo” and “R.I.P.D.,” which both fell short of already low expectations from some box office analysts.

Animated film “Turbo,” the story of a racing snail, landed in the No. 3 slot with $21.5 million from Friday through Sunday. Sci-fi comedy “R.I.P.D.” floundered in seventh with $12.8 million.

“The Conjuring,” produced for just under $20 million, stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as a couple who investigate paranormal activity inside a Rhode Island farmhouse. The movie followed the successful path of other inexpensive horror films such as “Mama” and “The Purge” that grabbed big sales in their opening weekends this year.

“It so overperformed anybody’s wildest expectations,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros’ executive vice president for domestic distribution. “We originally thought if we open in the mid-20s, that’s a strong result and we’d be very happy with that.”

Family audiences kept coming for the animated “Despicable 2,” one of the summer’s biggest hits, which brought its global total through Sunday to $585 million, distributor Universal Pictures said. The film features the voice of Steve Carell as Gru, leader of the singing-and-dancing yellow minions.

Continued interest in “Despicable” stalled the debut of “Turbo,” which features the voice of Ryan Reynolds as a snail that acquires super-fast powers after a freak accident.

The movie, produced by “Shrek” creator DreamWorks Animation, turned in one of the studio’s lowest recent debuts. Its Friday-to-Sunday sales came in below last year’s box office disappointment, the holiday-themed “Rise of the Guardians.”

With a head start on the weekend, “Turbo” added $9.7 million on Wednesday and Thursday at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters, plus $22.6 million from international openings, which only covered about one-quarter of all international markets. DreamWorks spent roughly $135 million to make the film.

“We’re in a very competitive marketplace but we have a ton of summer play time left, so we’ll see,” said Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for 20th Century Fox, the studio that released “Turbo,” speaking to the film’s opening numbers and its prospects.

Aronson said “Turbo” had “very strong openings” internationally, and an A-plus Cinemascore rating from moviegoers under age 25, which he said “bodes very well for its playability,” or future box office prospects.

“R.I.P.D.” was nearly as expensive as “Turbo,” costing Universal Pictures about $130 million. The movie features “Turbo” star Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as lawmen in the “Rest in Peace Department” who come back from the dead to fight crime.

“R.I.P.D.” added $6.8 million in international markets for a global total of $19.6 million through Sunday.

“In this crowded marketplace, R.I.P.D. did not find the size audience it needed and Universal is disappointed in the weekend result,” said Nikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Pictures.

Rocco said it was offset by “a fabulous year for Universal,” which has now hit $1 billion at the box office for the year thus far, the earliest date the studio has ever reached that level.

Rounding out the top of the charts, the Adam Sandler comedy “Grown Ups 2″ took the No. 4 slot, pulling in $20 million during its second weekend.

Newcomer “Red 2,” an action comedy aimed at older adults, landed in fifth place with 18.5 million, which studio officials said was in line with their expectations. The film stars Bruce Willis as a retired CIA agent who reunites a group of operatives to track down a missing nuclear device.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…