The Conjuring 2 Avoids Sequel Curse at Box Office

Madison Wolfe and Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring 2
Madison Wolfe and Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring 2

“The Conjuring 2” scared off the black magic bedeviling sequels, opening with an estimated $40.3 million, but it wasn’t enough to reverse the early summer blahs at the box office.

The domestic ticket sales for the return of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators put it in line with “The Conjuring’s” opening weekend take of $41.8 million in 2013 on its way to an ultimate $319 million around the world.

“There’s seemingly been a spell cast over the second installments and ‘The Conjuring,’ I think, broke that spell,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media for comScore, tells the Associated Press.

Not so for “Now You See Me 2.” The second go-round of the magician thriller starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson and Mark Ruffalo did what most sequels have been doing of late: underperforming. “NYSM2” opened in third place with an estimated $23 million, down from the $29.4 million for the original.

“Warcraft” came second with $24.3 million, though the adaption of the popular “World of Warcraft” game is surging in China with $156 million so far.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” with Megan Fox collected $14.8 million for fourth place and also will fall far shot of the first reboot in 2014, which went on to make $191 million.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” starring Jennifer Lawrence rounded out the top five with $10 million to bring its three-week total to $136 million, making it, too, one of the lesser lights in the franchise.

All this made for a scary start to the summer movie season. Last weekend was down 44 percent from the same weekend last year that had been powered by the $208 million debut of “Jurassic World,” with Hollywood hoping “Finding Dory” with Ellen DeGeneres and other upcoming tentpole films will reverse the trend.