The Nun’s Opening Night Box Office Sets Record For Conjuring Universe

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Despite a wobbly critical reception (29% on Rotten Tomatoes at time of writing), the latest installment in The Conjuring franchise has proven that horror is healthier than it’s been in decades. Last night, The Nun raked in $5.4m from Thursday night previews, a record for the franchise. It looks like it’s set to continue that record-breaking streak this weekend, too, with box office projections putting it at a $47-$52 million opening.

If this comes to pass, it’ll leave the other entries in the series in the dust. For the record, they were $41.8m for The Conjuring, $40.4m for The Conjuring 2, $37.1m for Annabelle and $35m for Annabelle: Creation. Given that The Nun was made on a budget of only $22m (with the other films in the franchise costing a similar amount), you can imagine how happy Warner Bros. and New Line are about the health of this franchise. In other words, expect films in the Conjuring series from now until the heat death of the universe.

One thing that hasn’t gone uncommented on is that The Nun has achieved this without ever releasing a full trailer. We’ve had a teaser (see above), short clips and TV spots, but no full and detailed idea of what audiences would have been able to look forward to. But this strange omission might actually be working in the movie’s favor.

After all, how often have you seen a horror trailer that spoiled all the best scares, monster reveals and gruesome deaths? Perhaps The Nun could herald a different approach to marketing horror pics that focuses on communicating the abstract notion of the film rather than exactly what happens in it.

All that said, I don’t know whether these box office projections have taken into account The Nun‘s critical mauling. It’ll be interesting to see if that affects forward projections and whether we’ll see it drop off the charts as word of mouth gets out that it isn’t so great. Then again, maybe the critics will have got it wrong and audiences will love it. Weirder things have certainly happened.

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