Talk about starting off with a bang! Lionsgate Films’ theatrical adaptation of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is off to a great start, pulling in $2.3 million in its Thursday night premiere run in just over 2,500 locations throughout North America. Scary Stories faces strong competition in its opening weekend, with other strong debuts expected from Nickelodeon’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold and Disney’s The Art of Racing in the Rain also fiercely vying for teenage movie-goers. The strong one-night ticket sales bodes very well for the film, which had garnered pre-release buzz in recent weeks among both the younger-skewing as well as hardcore horror audiences.
The $40 million adaptation, based on the series of children’s books by Alvin Shwartz, has several things going for it as it heads into opening weekend. The movie has garnered a PG-13 rating, which will not limit who goes to see it. This will surely help to pull in both older and younger crowds, which is always a huge help towards ticket sales. Secondly, reviews and responses to the film have been mostly positive, with an 83% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 71% Audience Score. As we head into the Halloween season, traditionally the biggest time of the year for horror films, more people than usual should be willing to give Scary Stories a shot. If for no other reason, it can begin getting them into the Halloween mood a couple of months early.
On the flip side, in addition to the premieres of a few younger-leaning films, Scary Stories faces stiff competition in its fight for first place from returning Hollywood blockbusters Hobbs & Shaw and The Lion King. Both films are predicted to finish in the top spots, with the André Øvredal-directed adaptation looking to pull in between $15 million and $20 million. As it expands to 3,315 theaters this weekend, the $2.3 million total from the Thursday night premieres portends well in the quest to top expectations.
The Guillermo del Toro production stars Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza and Gabriel Rush (among many others), and is set in the 1968-era town of Mill Valley. The teens encounter strange paranormal events and situations, following the exact events from books written in the 1800’s by a young girl. While the screenplay has been somewhat-criticized, the film has still been widely praised for the direction and tone. Lionsgate is hoping that the strong Thursday night premiere will help it to build steam throughout this hot August weekend.
Stay tuned to HNN for more news on Scary Stores to Tell in the Dark as it breaks!