The Conjuring (playing in 2,903 theaters) opened at #1 with a good news $41.5M weekend. It also received from audiences a coveted ‘A-’ CinemaScore, an unusually good grade for the genre where ‘D’ and ‘F’ have become commonplace from fed-up audiences.
Going into Friday, the $20M-cost The Conjuring was Fandango’s top ticket seller among four new releases across online and mobile platforms. Warner Bros early on credited director James Wan with making “both an incredibly scary film but also a very well-made quality movie” that likely becomes a badly needed fresh franchise for New Line. Clearly, Wan (Saw, Insidious) was able to transition from gore to the bizarre and now to the supernatural helped by talented cast Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, and Ron Livingston and credited screenwriters Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes.
Producers are Tony DeRosa-Grund, Peter Safran, and Rob Cowan. The marketing campaign kicked off a month ago at the LA Film Festival. “It was an unusual strategy in that it exposed the film to critical reaction at a very early stage,” Warner Bros Pictures President of Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution Sue Kroll tells me. “But our faith in the film was well placed and the screening netted nothing but positive reaction – from fans and critics alike.
The early screenings also provided us with great testimonials, social media fan reactions, and early positive quotes which were all used throughout the TV buy on everything ranging from NBA finals to late night roadblocks.”