<I>The Conjuring</I> Haunts Competition

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Time Warner's ( TWX) The Conjuring outstripped expectations as other new releases fell below forecasts this past weekend.

The Conjuring, following a pair of paranormal investigators tasked with exorcising an evil spirit terrorizing a family, brought in $41.53 million in its opening weekend. Wells Fargo analysts had only expected the film to generate $35 million.

Wells Fargo analysts, led by Marci Ryvicker, wrote on July 19th that "TWX's Time Warner's strong marketing effort and a lack of direct competition should help take the top spot this weekend." The Conjuring is expected to bring in another $59 million over the next 6 weeks.

Turbo, Red 2, and R.I.P.D. were the other three major releases to hit the theaters this weekend. Turbo, put out by Fox Studios ( FOXA), fell short of knocking the animated children's movie Despicable Me 2 out of second place. Despicable Me 2 tacked on another $25 million, totaling $276.1 million in box office receipts so far, beating Turbo's opening of $21.5 million. Summit Entertainment's Red 2 and R.I.P.D. both managed to be passed by already released films. Grown Ups 2 and Pacific Rim continued to generate receipts, keeping Red 2 and R.I.P.D. in 5th and 7th place, respectively. All three new releases fell about $6 million short of Well Fargo's expectations.

The new films managed to knock The Lone Ranger, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Myself, White House Down and This is The End out of the top ten.

Time Warner's ( TWX) shares rose 0.7% to close at $62.22 on back of The Conjuring's success. Lionsgate ( LGF) fell more than 1.4% to close at $32.16 on back Red 2's disappointing performance. Comcast ( CMCSA) , the company that owns Despicable Me's Universal Studios, added 0.8% to close up at $44.93.

Time Warner also led the same weekend last year, releasing The Dark Night Rises. The Christopher Nolan directed Batman film, starring Christian Bale, generated $191 million in its first weekend.

-- Written by Robert Arenella in New York

To contact the writer of this article, click here: Robert Arenella.

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