Always trust the nuns.
Warner Bros. and New Line’s The Nun II kicked off the fall box office with a pleasing $32.6 million domestic opening from 3,726 theaters, more than enough to scare away The Equalizer 3 and win the weekend. Moviegoers between ages 18 and 34 made up a whopping 67 percent of ticket buyers, while the pic skewed slightly female (52 percent).
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In 2018, The Nun opened to $53.8 million domestically on its way to earning $365.6 million at the worldwide box office — the top showing for any title in The Conjuring horror franchise, not adjusted for inflation. While the sequel’s domestic start came in behind the first film’s debut, no one is complaining. Overall domestic revenue for the weekend hit an estimated $88.9 million, up 118 percent over the same year last weekend.
Overseas, The Nun II launched to a rousing $52.7 million from 69 markets for an early foreign tally of $52.7 million, including scoring the biggest horror opening since the pandemic in Mexico ($8.9 million). The sequel, costing a reported $22 million to make, should turn a tidy profit for New Line considering it has already earned $85 million globally after just a few days.
Set in 1956, the horror pic sees Taissa Farmiga — the real-life sister of Conjuring star Vera Farmiga — return as Sister Irene, who, despite her gentle demeanor, can handle any demonic challenge. Also returning is Jonas Bloquet, with newcomer Storm Reid (Euphoria) joining the cast as a young nun. Audiences gave the film a C+ CinemaScore, which isn’t unusual for a horror film. (The last Nun received a C).
The weekend’s other high-profile nationwide entry was romantic-comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, written and directed by franchise creator Nia Vardalos. In addition to helming duties, she stars opposite John Corbett. Focus Features is handling the film domestically, while Universal Pictures International has duties overseas.
The threequel opened to a modest $10 million from 3,965 theaters domestically, in line with expectations for a movie targeting older adults (24 percent of the audience was 55 and older). Internationally, it opened to a quiet $2.7 million from its first 21 markets.
The threequel, which follows the eccentric Portokalas family as they travel to Greece, is a follow-up to the wildly popular 2002 film and the not-so-successful 2016 sequel. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is once again produced by Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. The threequel earned a B CinemaScore, versus an A- for the sequel.
The cast also includes Louis Mandylor, Elena Kampouris, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Lainie Kazan and Andrea Martin.
My Big Greek Wedding 3 came in third in North America behind The Nun II and Denzel Washington’s holdover The Equalizer 3, which came in second with $12.1 million from 3,965 theaters for a domestic total of $61.9 million (its drop was 67 percent). Globally, The Equalizer 3 cleared the $100 million mark over the weekend with a cume of $107.7 million through Sunday.
Hindi-language drama-thriller Jawan, backed by Yash Raj Films, came in fourth domestically with an impressive $6.2 million from only 87 theaters for an early cume of $7.6 million (the film opened Thursday).
Warners’ Barbie rounded out the top five with $5.9 million from 3,281 locations for a dazzling domestic total of $620.5 million. The movie served up yet another milestone over the weekend when becoming only the 15th film to ever cross $1.4 billion at the global box office. Barbie‘s worldwide tally is now $1.403 billion, meaning it is days away from passing up Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.405 billion). And if Barbie is able to overtake the $1.453 billion earned by Frozen II, Greta Gerwig will become the highest-grossing female director of all time at the global box office.
In North America, DC’s Blue Beetle followed in sixth place with $3.8 million, giving Warners three movies in the top 10. (Also, Warners is the only major Hollywood studio to have six movies open to No. 1 so far this year, although that includes misfire The Flash.)
Sony’s Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story came in seventh with $3.4 million for a global total of $93.4 million. Universal’s Oppenheimer followed with $3 million for a worldwide tally of $891 million, continuing its place as Christopher Nolan’s third-biggest movie ever.
A version of this story was originally published Sept. 9 at 8:42 a.m.
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