Weekend Box Office: INSIDIOUS CHAPTER TWO Sets New September Record with $41 Million Debut

     September 15, 2013

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After scaring up 2013’s highest single-day horror opening on Friday the 13th, Insidious Chapter Two went on to claim an estimated $41 million from 3,049 locations this weekend. That’s a new record for a live-action September release (only Hotel Transylvania opened higher) and ranks as one of the top openings ever in the supernatural horror genre.

The Family was the weekend’s only other new release. Unlike Insidious 2, which nearly doubled its pre-release projection, Luc Besson’s gangster came in on par with its more modest target.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Insidious Chapter Two $41,050,000 $41.05
2.  The Family $14,500,000 $14.5
3.  Riddick $7,000,000 $31.27
4.  Lee Daniels’ The Butler $5,580,000 $100
5.  We’re The Millers $5,415,000 $131.6
6.  Instructions Not Included $4,250,000 $26.5
7.  Planes $3,066,000 $82.9
8.  One Direction: This Is Us $2,400,000 $26.8
9.  Elysium $2,050,000 $88.3
10.  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $1,825,000 $62

insidious-chapter-2-posterAs box office enthusiasts know, September is not known for its spectacular box office records. For proof I offer Sweet Home Alabama, which held September’s all-time title with $35.6 million for a full decade before Hotel Transylvania topped it with $42.5 million last year. Then, after Insidious Chapter Two earned an enormous $20 million on its first day, it looked like the September record would change hands once again. But it was not to be. Insidious Chapter Two fell just short of an overall win but did manage to set new benchmarks for a live-action release and the horror genre for the month of September.

The other record Insidious Chapter Two was targeting was 2013’s highest horror debut. The Conjuring captured that title back in July with $41.8 million, on its way to a final domestic gross of over $135 million and a spot in the summer’s top ten. The numbers for both films are extremely close, so there is still a chance that Chapter Two will pull ahead by the time Monday’s actual figures are announced. But I wouldn’t count on it. In a notoriously front-loaded genre, Insidious 2 had the added benefit of a Friday the 13th release date. By Saturday, the sequel was down by over 35%, compared to The Conjuring, which dropped 17% on its second day. And, though both films were directed by James Wan, The Conjuring had better word of mouth – scoring 86% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to Insidious Chapter Two’s current 37% rank.

the-family-posterEven if Insidious 2 did not quite rise to the level of an all-time record-breaker, there is no denying the strength of its debut. Back in 2011, the original Insidious opened with $13.2 million – an average number for an original horror film. What made Insidious not-so-average was its $1.5 million budget. The film ended its worldwide run with almost $100 million, making a sequel a no-brainer. For Chapter Two, the producers kept the formula the same but tripled the budget to a relatively luxurious $5 million. That means that, even if Insidious Chapter Two falls precipitously in the next week, it is already way past the profit margin.

The same cannot be said for The Family. The weekend’s second new release came in a distant second with an estimated $14.5 million from 3,091 locations. The Family actually opened in more locations than Insidious Chapter Two despite the fact that tracking put the film’s best prospects at no more than $15 million. In that respect, The Family avoided embarrassment by opening in line with expectations. The gangster film cost a reported $30 million and has received a very poor CinemaScore so I am afraid its prospects are for embarrassment are still quite open.

Overall box office for this weekend came in above $100 million – a jump of over 16% from this time in 2012. Next week should be another strong frame (for September, that is) with the drama Prisoners expected to debut in the $20 million range.

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