“Annabelle Comes Home” Fails to Scare Up Big Box Office Returns

Annabelle Comes Home Annabelle Comes Home (WB)

The Conjuring franchise has been firing on so many cylinders at the domestic box office for six straight years now, so it was inevitable that one of these movies would end up coming short at the box office. The newest entry in this series, Annabelle Comes Home, grossed $20.4 million over the weekend and $31.2 million over its first five days of release (it started playing on Wednesday, June 26). This makes it the first Conjuring movie to open beneath $30 million over its first three-day weekend and even Annabelle Comes Home’s five-day gross was beneath the three-day opening weekend of its predecessor, Annabelle: Creation.

Now, to put things into perspective, The Conjuring series is far from decimated in terms of box office prowess. If Annabelle Comes Home is the nadir of a Conjuring movie’s domestic box office potential, well, that’s a good deal better than the lowest-grossing entries in the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, neither of which could crack $20 million domestically in their entire box office runs.

Still, Annabelle Comes Home is a major unexpected speed bump for a horror series that’s made a fortune out of churning annual cheap horror films that manage to make oodles of money. Just last September, The Nun took in over $365 million on just a $22 million budget. But perhaps the mixed response to The Nun, as well as Conjuring-adjacent horror movie The Curse of La Llorona, made general moviegoers adverse to yet another standalone Annabelle movie, especially one whose more forgettable marketing campaign didn’t promise an origin story like the last Annabelle movie, nor delivered a memorably intense jump scare like that teaser trailer for The Nun.

As long-running franchises like X-Men, Men in Black, Godzilla, and Shaft learned the hard way this summer, it isn’t just enough to show up with a new sequel, you’ve gotta give moviegoers a reason to show up beyond just the allure of a familiar brand name. Annabelle Comes Home and its marketing that failed to entice people with something exciting and fresh became the newest Summer 2019 sequel to receive this lesson by way of severely underperforming compared to expectations. With two new horror movies entering the marketplace over the next two weeks, it’s doubtful Annabelle Comes Home has the strong box office legs of the previous Annabelle movie.

Coming in far above Annabelle Comes Home in the number one spot at the domestic box office this weekend was Toy Story 4, which grossed another $58.4 million, a 53% drop from opening weekend. That’s better than the 56% second-weekend drop of Incredibles 2 though slightly bigger than usual second-weekend drops for typical Pixar summertime titles. Toy Story 4 has cleared a massive $237.3 million after ten days of release.

Meanwhile, the other new wide release of the weekend, Yesterday, opened to a great $17 million this weekend, the biggest opening weekend ever for director Danny Boyle. Familiar Beatles music, a light-hearted tone and being the one romantic drama in the marketplace all helped Yesterday stand out at the domestic box office and set it up for what should be a lovely box office run. That’s especially good news for Lily James, who continues her winning box office streak after Cinderella, Baby Driver and Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again.

Avengers: Endgame returned to 2,025 locations this weekend and grossed a fantastic $5.5 million, a fantastic 180% increase from last weekend. Endgame has now grossed $841.2 million and will soon surpass the $847.6 million adjusted for inflation gross of Return of the Jedi to become the sixteenth-biggest movie of all time at the domestic box office when adjusted for inflation. Much like how Black Panther and Captain Marvel got a domestic box office boost when the last two Avengers movies arrived, Endgame seems to be a box office boat that’s getting a rise from the Spider-Man: Far from Home tide.

Finally, it’s very much worth mentioning that The Last Black Man in San Francisco, one of the best movies of 2019, continues to do great business in limited release. In its fourth weekend of release, The Last Black Man in San Francisco expanded into 155 locations and grossed $482,000 for a per-theater average of $3,112 for a domestic total of $2 million. Despite the fact that it’s never played in more than 155 locations, Last Black Man is now the eighteenth biggest limited release of 2019. What an impressive achievement for a title that doesn’t have any big movie stars or has any popular source material to boost its profile.

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