New horror film The Nun is expected to score the Conjuring franchise's biggest opening weekend. Debuting in 2013 with the eponymous film directed by James Wan, The Conjuring has become an unlikely shared universe for the horror genre. Buoyed by generally positive reviews and substantial box office profits, there are currently two installments in the main series, as well as a pair of Annabelle spinoffs. The Nun is another spinoff, taking place chronologically before all the other movies.
Save for the hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, the box office has been in a bit of a rut recently, but things look like they'll pick up soon. Horror films are always reliable to draw sizable crowds, and with the brand recognition of The Conjuring, The Nun should be able to inject some life back into the multiplex with a lucrative debut. All signs are pointing to it having a great start for its theatrical run.
According to Box Office Pro, The Nun should earn about $45 million in its first three days. That would be the largest opening weekend in the franchise's history, besting the $41 million mark posted by the original Conjuring film. If this pans out, The Nun will clearly top both Annabelles, which earned $37.1 and $35 million in their debuts, respectively.
If there is anything that's going to prevent The Nun from reaching the high end of these projections, it's the muted critical response. Pundits are leaning towards the negative side, feeling that the performances and set pieces are let down by a poor story. Because of the word-of-mouth, it may be difficult for The Nun to crossover with mainstream audiences, but the horror genre has a large enough fan base that it should still be in fine shape. As indicated earlier, there hasn't been much of note playing in theaters, and it's been a while since a mainstream horror film came out. A Quiet Place was back in April, and there hasn't been much in the genre since. Viewers in the mood for a scare are likely looking forward to The Nun.
Elsewhere in the top five, the new action film Peppermint is projected to come in third with $13 million. Despite being headlined by Jennifer Garner, the movie shouldn't make much of an impact at the box office due to its largely poor critical reception. Holdovers should also do well over the weekend, with Crazy Rich Asians, The Meg, and Mission: Impossible - Fallout all continuing their successful commercial runs.
Source: Box Office Pro