'Spirit Untamed' and 'Conjuring 3' Look to Bolster the Box Office Recovery

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‘Spirit Untamed’ and ‘Conjuring 3’ Look to Bolster the Box Office Recovery

“A Quiet Place – Part II” and “Cruella” were the only films to gross over $3 million last weekend. More new films can change that

While “A Quiet Place — Part II” and “Cruella” jolted the box office recovery effort, no other films grossed over $3 million this past weekend. Theaters need more new films, and Warner Bros. and Universal will provide with New Line’s “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” and DreamWorks Animation’s “Spirit Untamed.”

Neither film is expected to have the same kind of opening that “Quiet Place II” had with a $57 million four-day domestic launch. Analysts who spoke to TheWrap project an opening of $16-20 million for the latest “Conjuring” film, which also hits HBO Max this weekend.

“Spirit Untamed,” which is based on the “Spirit Riding Free” Netflix series, is projected to make $5-7 million. An opening slightly above that range would put it on the same level as “My Little Pony: The Movie,” another film adaptation of a TV series aimed towards young girls that opened to $8.8 million in 2017.

Boxoffice Pro analyst Shawn Robbins says that there is still a possibility that both films could open above expectations as theaters and studios are still gauging overall moviegoer interest in seeing the films currently on offer in theaters. But it will face stiff competition from “Quiet Place II” for audiences interested in seeing a horror film. Through Tuesday, the film has a domestic total of $61.3 million, 3% ahead of the pace set by the original “Quiet Place” in 2018

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“Maybe that post-COVID demand that fueled ‘Quiet Place’ will be enough to support two horror films at once, but between the strong word-of-mouth for that film and the availability of ‘Conjuring’ on HBO Max, the numbers will probably be more modest,” he said.

Regardless, the presence of these two films will provide new support for theaters and the box office charts as the marketplace waits for higher-profile films like “In The Heights” and ‘F9.” While the “Spirit” series doesn’t have the widespread family appeal of other DreamWorks titles, it is nonetheless the first animated film since “Raya and the Last Dragon” to hit theaters and thus will broaden the range of moviegoers coming to theaters this weekend. Variety and momentum have always been the key to strong box office charts, and this weekend should see theaters get more of both.

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” is the third installment in the main “Conjuring” saga and the seventh in the overall franchise. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as Ed and Lorraine Warren in a horror tale based on the Arne Cheyenne Johnson murder trial, which was the firstin U.S. history in which the defense argued that the accused was possessed by demons. Michael Chaves directed the film from a script by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who shares story credit with producer and “Conjuring” creator James Wan. The film currently has a 68% Rotten Tomatoes score.

“Spirit Untamed” is a retelling of the pilot of “Spirit Riding Free,” with an adventurous girl befriending a mustang named Spirit and teaming up with new friends to save the horse’s herd from a band of outlaws. Elaine Bogan directed from a script by Aury Wallington and Kristin Hahn, with a voice cast including Isabela Merced, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Julianne Moore, and Walton Goggins. The film has received mixed reviews with a 46% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Jeremy Fuster

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