None Above The Nun

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As the rest of Hollywood ponders what makes a profitable movie, the brain trust behind The Conjuring franchise seems to have it all figured out.

Case in point: The Nun, the fifth installment in what Warner Bros. calls its Conjuring Universe. Made for a relatively paltry $22 million, The Nun scared up $53.5 million in North America this weekend (estimated, of course) and made a truly terrifying $77.5 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $131 million. Those are franchise-best figures, according to Box Office Mojo. The supernatural horror movie’s domestic take also gives The Nun the second-biggest September debut in history, as well as the second-largest R-rated horror-film opening ever (trailing only last year’s IT).

It just goes to show that scares sell. And the fact that horror movies don’t cost much to produce makes them even more attractive to studios. Consider The Conjuring Universe as a whole: Excluding The Nun, the first four flicks in the franchise cost a total of about $81.5 million to make. The lowest earner among them—Annabelle—collected $257 million worldwide. All told, those four movies have grossed (and I do mean grossed) more than $1.2 billion theatrically, and the early success of The Nun suggests we’ll see more Conjuring flicks in the future. Warner Bros. might make it a … habit.

Three-time box-office champ Crazy Rich Asians slid to second place, banking another $13.6 million. That brought its crazy-rich total to $136.2 million. Another newcomer, Jennifer Garner’s action flick Peppermint, debuted in third place with $13.3 million.

The Meg continues to gobble up box-office chum, swallowing another $6 million to bring its grand total to nearly $131.6 million. Nothing fishy about those numbers.

Searching, meanwhile, found pay dirt yet again. Adding another 800 theaters, the thriller collected another $4.5 million to close out the top five.

Finally this week, God Bless the Broken Road, the latest Christian movie to land in theaters, collected $1.6 million in its debut to finish a disappointing 11th.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 6 months ago
The Nun seems like a creepy spiritually mess of a film, and frankly not one I'd want to see at all. Give me Friday the 13th or a Stephen King film over The Nun any day.
Kal El 5 months ago
You’re totally correct. I saw it today and wish I had known how messed up the theology was going to be (thanks to PluggedIn’s blanket ‘spoilers ahead’ warning I opted to go to a different Christian review site to research the spiritual content and it turns out they didn’t do a great job of digging in (neither did PluggedIn, really (I went back and read theirs a minute ago), but it was still closer).

I actually serve in an inner healing and deliverance ministry at my church, and I’m no stranger to spiritual warfare, so take it from me, “The Nun” gets it 98% wrong. The only thing that appears to have any real authority to remove the demon in the movie is a relic containing literal blood of Jesus, but even that is a temporary fix in the grand scheme of the story, and everything else (rebuking the demonic in the name of Jesus, walking in faith and authority as sons and daughters of God who have Holy Spirit living in our hearts, breaking agreements with the demonic, etc., either never come up or don’t produce lasting or profoundly effective results here (despite that the lead heroes are a priest and a nun). The movie also falls into the typical misunderstanding of what demonization (more popularly called demon possession) looks like and whether it can happen to Christians. While born again Christians can knowingly or unknowingly give the demonic access points in their lives (trauma, agreeing with a spirit of fear or other spirit, for examples), Christians with Holy Spirit in them (even if the enemy has gained a foothold somewhere in their lives) can’t be full-on possessed, only oppressed or influenced. Yet here a nun is completely taken over by the demon for a sequence, and many people of faith suffer terrible injury directly from demonic sources. Even the movie’s understanding of what deliverances (“exorcisms”) look like is insanely wrong, both in approach and outcome.

I’m so disappointed, I had heard the spirituality was more positive than negative, but that’s just not so. The Conjuring franchise (that is, the movie line of that name, not the spin offs mentioned here) have some massive flaws, but at least they present some measure of Biblical truth about spiritual matters (I’d never endorse them as full of guides or pictures of deliverance ministry, but they did better than The Nun did).

I’m with you, I’ll stick with a suspenseful slasher film. Christians ought to rally and pray in faith and authority for God to reach and rise up filmmakers who will make spiritually truthful, well made horror films. The Nun was a reminder of how badly we need that void filled.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Yes! Completely agree! I really don't like this weird spiritual atmosphere that many horror movies are taking to lately. And it's especially irritating that many of these people who are making these spiritual horror films are trying to target a faith-based audience. I would much rather watch Friday the 13th over any "Conjuring" type movie.  
-Davidiswise The Clown