Like many horror movies before it, bad reviews didn’t stop moviegoers from buying tickets for “The Nun II.” Warner Bros., the studio announced Sunday. The sequel to the 2018 hit, which was released in 3,728 theaters by A.D., broke the box office record, earning an estimated $32.6 million in its first weekend in North American theaters.
AP’s Mark Kennedy wrote in his one-star review that the film was “a film that looks set to put the nail in the immortal coffin of this franchise,” and audiences gave it a C+ CinemaScore. But that doesn’t really matter: Horror is perhaps the genre most reliably impervious to criticism, at least when it comes to opening weekend.
The sequel, starring Taissa Farmiga and Storm Reid and directed by Michael Graves, fell well short of the first film’s debut ($53.8 million), but it’s still a solid start. “The Nun” movies are part of the so-called Conjuring universe, which currently has nine films and $2.1 billion in box office revenue to its name. The sequel also performed well internationally, collecting $52.7 million from 69 markets (Mexico being the strongest at $8.9 million) and bringing its global debut to $85.3 million.
“Having a horror universe is really powerful in terms of revenue generation potential,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “It’s a big bet from Warners that the horror moviegoing experience will never fade.”
There will also be many more horror movies on the calendar throughout the fall, including “Death in Venice” opening next week, “Saw X” opening September 29th and “The Exorcist: Believer” opening October 6th .
“The Nun II” beat Denzel Washington’s “Equalizer 3” to second place in its second weekend. Columbia Pictures’ announcement added $12.1 million, bringing its domestic gross to $61.9 million and its worldwide earnings to $107.7 million.
Third place went to another new film: Nia Vardalos’ third film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which came 21 years after the first film, became a box office hit, grossing $369 million against a production budget of $5 million. The third film, released in 3,650 theaters by Focus Properties, grossed an estimated $10 million, driven largely by female viewers (71%) aged 25 and over (83%).
Vardalos wrote, directed and stars in “Greek Wedding 3,” which brings back John Corbett and takes the gang to Greece. AP’s Jocelyn Noveck wrote in her review that the film, which received mostly poor reviews, was “like a piece of baklava heated three times.”
Indian revenge thriller “Jawan,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, opened in fourth place with $6.2 million from just 813 locations. It was released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Bollywood superstar Khan also spearheaded another box office sensation titled “Pathaan”, which grossed $130 million worldwide this year.
“Barbie,” which arrived on VOD on Tuesday, dropped to No. 5 after a successful 8 weeks with $5.9 million from 3,281 locations. Warner Bros. The film has now grossed $620.5 million domestically.
Estimated ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters from Friday through Sunday, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be announced on Monday.
1. “Sister II”, $32.6 million.
2. “Equalizer 3”, $12.1 million.
3. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” $10 million.
4. “Jawan,” $6.2 million.
5. “Barbie”, $5.9 million.
6. “The Blue Bug”, $3.8 million.
7. “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story,” $3.4 million.
8. “Oppenheimer,” $3 million.
9. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” $2.6 million.