It was a very close race for first place at the daily box office on Thursday with Sony's The Smurfs 2 edging out Fox's The Wolverine by a slim $29,438 for the day. The Smurfs 2 took in $4.357 million, which represented a very solid 16 percent decline from Wednesday's opening day performance. In comparison, Fox's Turbo fell 25 percent to gross $4.15 million on its first Thursday a few weeks back. Through two days of release, The Smurfs 2 has grossed $9.56 million. That is just below the $9.70 million two-day start of Turbo, though The Smurfs 2 could still potentially have a slightly larger opening weekend performance than Turbo did after Thursday's hold. However, in the bigger picture The Smurfs 2 already appears set to fall off sharply from the overall domestic performance of 2011's The Smurfs.
The Wolverine took second with $4.327 million. The sixth installment of the X-Men film franchise was essentially unchanged from Wednesday. That represents a solid first Thursday hold for a fan-driven superhero film of its size, though it should also be noted that Thursday holds in general were stronger than usual yesterday among wide releases. The Wolverine was the week's top film with a seven-day start of $73.31 million. While that was a solid start (especially with the film's cost in mind), it was also well below expectations and was an underwhelming 1 percent below the $73.89 million seven-day start of 2011's X-Men: First Class (which didn't have the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions). The Wolverine will likely find itself in a tight race for second place with The Smurfs 2 this weekend.
After pulling in an estimated $1.276 million in late night shows that began at 8 p.m., Universal's 2 Guns is likely to lead the box office this weekend. However, the action film starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg could also fall short of expectations based on its late night start (which is expected to be counted towards Friday's opening day performance). With that said, it should also be cautioned that in the past late night preview grosses for films starring Washington or Wahlberg have tended to be relatively soft. Check back tomorrow and throughout the weekend to see how this weekend's box office race with 2 Guns, The Smurfs 2 and The Wolverine plays out.
Turing back towards Thursday, Warner's The Conjuring remained strong with a third place take of $2.58 million. The break-out horror film was up 4 percent over Wednesday and down a healthy 39 percent from last Thursday. The Conjuring placed in second for the week with $33.19 million and has now grossed an impressive $94.93 million in two weeks. That leaves the film just $5.07 million away from reaching the $100 million domestic milestone, a mark it will obviously zoom past over the weekend.
Universal's Despicable Me 2 followed closely behind in fourth with $2.32 million. The blockbuster computer animated film from Illumination Entertainment increased 8 percent over Wednesday and fell just 28 percent from last Thursday. Based on its performance the past two days, it appears likely that Despicable Me 2 likely won't take much of a hit from The Smurfs 2 this weekend. Despicable Me 2 placed in third this week with a weekly take of $25.89 million and has now grossed $316.28 million in 30 days.