As further evidence that moviegoers are sick and tired of sequels, James Wan's Insidious: Chapter 2, starring Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, and veteran Barbara Hershey, took in $40.27 million this past weekend, September 13-15, at the North America box office according to weekend actuals found at Box Office Mojo. That's more than three times the $13.27 million Wan's Insidious collected in April 2011. How could that be?
Well, James Wan's Warner Bros.-distributed The Conjuring, starring Vera Farmiga and Insidious' Patrick Wilson, became a sleeper horror hit in mid-July, collecting an astounding — for a relatively low-budget horror movie — $41.85 million on its first weekend, ultimately cuming at $136 million in North America in addition to an excellent — once again, for a relatively low-budget horror movie — $135.2 million internationally. That helped to create extra buzz for the FilmDistrict-distributed Insidious: Chapter 2, which officially cost $5 million to produce though its marketing budget was surely not inconsiderable. (Much like the cheaply made, but not cheaply marketed Paranormal Activity movies.)
Something else: For obvious reasons, Friday the 13th is an excellent date to open horror movies. Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill, Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand would all have killed it at the box office had they been lucky enough to open on such a Friday. Anyhow, as per Box Office Mojo, Insidious: Chapter 2 earned more than half of its opening weekend take on Friday proper, dropping a worrisome 33 percent on Saturday and an extra 50 percent on Sunday. For comparison's sake: The Conjuring was down 17 percent on its first Saturday and 21 percent on Sunday.
Insidious cumed at $54 million in North America. Expect Insidious: Chapter 2 to gross north of $90 million. Could it reach $100 million? Theoretically yes, but unlike The Conjuring, Wan's second 2013 horror movie suffered the aforementioned steep Saturday and Sunday drops; those indicate that, once again unlike The Conjuring, Insidious: Chapter 2 will likely follow the usual frontloaded path of most horror films.
James Wan in the footsteps of box office trailblazers Andy and Lana Wachowski
According to Box Office Mojo's Ray Subers, the impressive weekend debuts of James Wan's The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2 mark only the second time that a film director has had two movies open with more than $40 million in the same year (not taking inflation into account). Andy and Lana Wachowski were the first back in 2003, following the release of the Keanu Reeves sci-fiers / fantasy movies The Matrix Reloaded ($91.77 million or about $124 million adjusted for inflation) and The Matrix Revolutions ($48.47 million or about $66 million adjusted).
Taking inflation into account, James Wan and the Wachowski siblings would have more company. For instance, adjusted for inflation, Steven Spielberg had two movies opening above the $40 million mark in 2002: Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, debuted with approximately $50 million adjusted, while Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, opened with about $42 million.
Once again pretending that inflation doesn't exist, Insidious: Chapter 2 had the second best September debut ever, trailing only the Adam Sandler-voiced Hotel Transylvania's $42.52 million. Once inflation is factored in, Insidious 2 drops a couple of slots, also trailing Andy Tennant's Reese Witherspoon star vehicle Sweet Home Alabama and the Brett Ratner-directed Jackie Chan / Chris Tucker flick Rush Hour.
'Insidious: Chapter 2' cast
Besides Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, and Barbara Hershey, Insidious: Chapter 2 features Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Andrew Astor, Hank Harris, and Jocelin Donahue.
Barbara Hershey Insidious: Chapter 2 photo: FilmDistrict.