The Nun kicked off a busy fall season at the box office by accumulating an estimated $53.5 million at this weekend’s box office, destroying the previous Conjure-verse’s opening weekend record set by the original The Conjuring with $41.8 million in the summer of 2013.
The debut is also the second largest September opening ever, going past the $48.4 million set by Hotel Transylvania 2 in 2015. The Nun could not come close to last fall’s king of the horror world, It, however, which took in $123.4 for its opening weekend. The Nun’s $53.5 million debut was also the second largest opening ever for an R-rated horror film, again placing behind Warner Brother’s It. The Nun was also a hit internationally, bringing in $77.5 million, totaling $131 million worldwide.
The Nun accomplished all of this with poor critical and audience scores, which may hurt the film’s chances of repeating in the top spot next weekend. The Nun’s Rotten Tomatoes score is currently at 28% (the lowest for any Conjuring film or spin-off so far) and the film’s Cinemascore was a C. Most highly-anticipated horror and action films are impervious to critical reviews during their opening weekends, but we could see a sharp decline in next week’s box office numbers if word-of-mouth is as bad as it appears.
The marketing machine for The Nun was working overtime this summer, with a series of alluring trailers, a ‘banned” Youtube clip, and tales of real supernatural activity on the set of the film. All of these gimmicks certainly worked, so don’t be surprised to see some of the upcoming horror releases employ similar marketing strategies.
In other box office news, The Meg continues to eat up profits, remaining one of the biggest surprises of the year so far. The giant shark tale finished with over $6 million this weekend, bringing the prehistoric beast’s domestic total to $131 million. Overseas, the film has been a real monster, totaling over $360 million, and nearing the $500 million mark worldwide.
Check back next week to see how The Nun fares in her sophomore frame (with the added competition from everyone’s favorite dread-locked alien, The Predator) and don’t forget to keep up with all the new releases of the fall season with HNN’s own Fall Horror Movie Guide.