- The latest movie in the "Conjuring" franchise, "The Curse of La Llorona," won a slow Easter box-office weekend with $26.5 million domestically.
- It exceeded box-office projections, which placed it at $17 million for the weekend.
- The horror genre continues to be the most reliable force at the box office aside from superhero blockbusters.
- The movie has already made six times its production budget worldwide.
"The Curse of La Llorona" is the latest horror movie in the "Conjuring" franchise to exceed expectations in its debut at the box office.
The movie, from first-time feature-film director Michael Chaves and starring Linda Cardellini, grossed $26.5 million over the weekend, far more than initial projections. Boxoffice.com and Box Office Mojo estimated the movie would make $17 million in its first weekend.
It led the worst Easter box-office weekend in nearly 15 years, according to Variety, but still proved the power of the horror genre, which has been the most reliable genre to get audiences to the theater outside of superhero blockbusters. Last month, Jordan Peele’s "Us" had the biggest opening weekend ever for an original horror movie.
"If there is any proof that audiences love to be scared in the darkened and communal environment of the movie theater it’s the fact that ‘La Llorona’ entered a marketplace that boasted two other horror movies in the top 10 (‘Pet Sematary’ & ‘Us’) and over-performed despite their presence," Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider.
"’La Llorona’ was perfectly timed to take advantage of a slow Easter weekend and give people to chills and thrills of a brand new horror entry just a week before the box-office juggernaut that will be ‘Endgame’ dominates the social conversation and the multiplex," Dergarabedian added.
The last "Conjuring" movie, "The Nun," also overperformed in its first weekend in September despite terrible reviews. The movie made $53.5 million in its debut and ultimately grossed $365 million worldwide off of a $22 million production budget.
"The Curse of La Llorona" has a 33% Rotten Tomatoes critic score, but has already made $56 million worldwide. It was made for $9 million. Like "The Nun," its biggest international opening was in Mexico with $5.3 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
"In South America, and Mexico specifically, horror films do really well there," Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst Jeff Bock told Business Insider in September.
Warner Bros. currently holds the top two spots at the domestic box office with "The Curse of La Llorona" and the DC superhero movie, "Shazam!" That will change this weekend when Disney’s "Avengers: Endgame" opens, but Dergarabedian said that Warner Bros. is "showing that a diversity of content can pay big dividends."
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