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'The Conjuring' In Line To Potentially Top Box Office


In a week with four new wide releases, acclaimed horror-thriller "The Conjuring" looks to be in great shape to finish the weekend as the top box office draw, likely ousting "Despicable Me 2" in the process. Also hitting theaters are animated film "Turbo," action flick "Red 2" and action-comedy "R.I.P.D.," making for a wide open weekend as several different films battle for the top slot at the box office. The weekend could also be the last that "The Lone Ranger" lands in the top 10 after a very disappointing domestic run thus far for Disney.

While the big-budget blockbusters tend to dominate the top of the charts, each year seems to have a handful of low-budget horror films that surge to big box office dollars. Following in the footsteps of "Evil Dead" and "Mama," "The Conjuring" hits theaters looking to find a wide mainstream audience despite a somewhat limited 2,600-venue release and a bare bones $13 million production budget.

Not only are there are no other horror flicks to compete with in theaters, "The Conjuring" also has a surprising level of critical support so far and director James Wan has already seen plenty of success with the original "Saw" and "Insidious." Look for "The Conjuring" to squeak by "Turbo" and "Despicable Me 2" and open as the top box office draw in the U.S.

Hitting theaters on Wednesday, animated "Turbo" could be a tough sell this weekend thanks to plenty of competition and minimal buzz heading into its release. With "Despicable Me 2" still putting up big numbers and "Monsters University" likely to again land in the top 10, not to mention three other wide releases in different genres this weekend, "Turbo" will be dealing with a fractured potential audience that could limit its opening figures. "Turbo" could still end up with a decent five-day opening total if it can do well on Wednesday and Thursday, though it doesn't seem to be in line for much of a box office run in the U.S.

Another title hoping to find its target audience this weekend is action sequel "Red 2," starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. While the original wasn't a runaway success for Lionsgate/Summit, it racked up $90 million domestically and $199 million worldwide - very good numbers for a $58 million production launched in mid-October. Without another guaranteed action hit reaching theaters this weekend, "Red 2" should be able to pull in virtually the same number of moviegoers that propelled the first one, likely putting it close to the $21 million opening of the original.

Going directly up against "Red 2" this weekend is "R.I.P.D.," an action-thriller starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. Not having early critics' screenings is generally a bad sign heading into a release, and "R.I.P.D." will also face steep competition from "Pacific Rim" as well, which should limit it from having much of an opening. Expect "R.I.P.D." to finish shy of $20 million this weekend despite an opening of more than 2,800 total venues around the country.

Even though "Despicable Me 2" should finally fall out of the top box office slot, it is still in line for another relatively big weekend as it continues its enormous theatrical run. With domestic revenue already approaching $250 million before its third weekend, "Despicable Me 2" now seems like a lock to be the top animated grosser of the year and will easily clear $500 million worldwide by the end of the weekend. "Despicable Me 2" should finish with another weekend north of $20 million and does have an outside chance of landing back atop the charts if "Turbo" and "The Conjuring" put together lackluster openings.

Next weekend, Fox's "Wolverine" is the only new wide release of the weekend and is looking to get the franchise back on track after "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" underperformed huge expectations back in 2009. With the summer movie schedule starting to wind down, "Elysium," "Kick Ass 2" and "Smurfs 2" are among the biggest movies left to hit theaters, though it doesn't look like we'll have another movie approach the $200 million domestic mark this summer.

RTT Box Office Predictions for 7/19/13 - 7/21/13 (in millions):

1) The Conjuring (Warner Brothers): $27

2) Turbo (Fox): $23.5

3) Despicable Me 2 (Universal): $23

4) Pacific Rim (Warner Bros.): $21

5) Red 2 (Lionsgate/Summit): $19.5

6) Grown Ups 2 (Sony/Columbia): $18

7) R.I.P.D. (Universal): $16.5

8) The Heat (Fox): $7.4

9) The Lone Ranger (Disney): $5.7

10) Monsters University (Disney): $5.4

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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