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Shin Godzilla Finishes Second in Yearly Japanese Box Office

With the announcement of Godzilla 2’s director being named this week (Michael Dougherty),the upcoming release of Kong: Skull Island in early March, and an upcoming Rampage film in the works,  it is clear that people all over the world still get excited about giant monsters.

The homeland of the “King of Monsters” is no different as Shin Godzilla finished second in overall box office returns for 2016 in Japan.  Shin Godzilla (also known as Godzilla Resurgence) finished second only to Anime sensation Your Name in terms of ticket sales, ending with $75,398,709 at the Japanese box office.  It was also the highest grossing Godzilla film in the history of the character in Japan. read more

Horror Movies Are Secretly Saving Hollywood’s Major Film Studios

What do four of the six highest grossing major film studios of 2016 have in common? They each released a horror film that made enough money to compensate for another big budget box office flop on their roster.

Hollywood accounting is “creative” to say the least, but the general rule of thumb is that a tentpole film needs to earn two times its estimated budget worldwide in order to outweigh production and marketing expenses and begin to make money.

According to Box Office Mojo, Sony’s The Magnificent Seven earned approximately $160.4 million on an estimated budget of $90 million. Ghostbusters (2016) earned approximately $229 million on an estimated budget of $144 million.  read more

Split Finishes Number One at Weekend Box Office with $40 Million Dollar Take

According to Variety, Split, the psychological horror thriller by M. Night Shyamalan, finished first at the box office with $40.2 million in ticket sales, exceeding industry estimates by roughly $20 million dollars.

Shyamalan has become a director who can once again turn a profit for studios after a pair of disasterous big budget failures in the form of After Earth and Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Things got so bad for the formerly trendy director, that Shyamalan even took a break from directing to write a book about school reform entitled I Got Schooled, hoping to cash in on the state and federal money available to would-be “saviors” of education. read more

The Bye Bye Man Finishes Fifth at Weekend Box Office, Underworld: Blood Wars Slips

The Bye Bye Man finished in fifth place at the box office for the weekend of January 13, 2017, taking in an estimated $13,378,000.  While the placement doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, it was in fact the highest grossing new film of the weekend, beating fellow newcomers Patriot’s Day, Monster Trucks, and Sleepless.  The film capitalized on a primarily female and under 25 audience to double its budget in the first three days of release.

While this is a solid opening for a horror film in January, the level of competition gets stiffer next week, and the rest of the month.  M. Night Shyamalan’s  horror thriller Split will be released next weekend with the same target audience in mind, greatly reducing The Bye Bye Man’s staying power at the box office.  Also contributing to a potential steep decline for the film is the fact that the film earned a “C” Cinema Score and  a 28% critic’s score on Rotten Tomatoes.       read more

Underworld 5: Blood Wars Finishes Fourth at Weekend Box Office

Kicking off a very busy January and February for horror fans, Underworld 5: Blood Wars finished 4th at the weekend box office with just over $13 million dollars.

The total is the lowest opening in the history of the franchise, but not an unexpected one with stiff competition from “Space Race” drama Hidden Figures which narrowly beat Star Wars: Rogue One to finish in first place with $22,800, 057 at theaters this weekend.  In comparison, the fourth installment in the Underworld franchise (2012’s Underworld Awakening) opened with a $25 million dollar take at the box office (and slightly better reviews-if you care about a 26% positive Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score vs a 20% score for the latest entry). read more

Are January and February the New Dumping Ground for Horror Films?

In October, HNN noticed that horror films were strangely missing from the October schedule which usually capitalizes on the Halloween season and the audiences need for thrills and chills.  Initially, it appeared that the culprit was The Blair Witch, as studios hurried to move their films away from the expected blockbuster.  The result was more “trick than treat” however, as The Blair Witch was d.o.a. at the box office making a grand total of just under 21 million dollars.  

Looking at the release schedule for January and February, it appears that “the witch” may not be the only one to blame, as nine horror films will debut during the coldest and least profitable months of the year in 2017.  January and February are known to Hollywood executives as “dump months” which refers to the low expectations regarding the box office success of the films and the unwillingness of people to leave their homes during the winter months.  Films that are released in January and February are usually ones that did not perform well at test screenings, films without bankable stars, genre films, and films that are hard to categorize or defy traditional genre conventions. read more

Too Much Horror Business: Box Office Winners and Losers of 2016

Although October 2016’s slate of horror films were at an all time low, this didn’t stop studios from making money at the your local cinema at other times of the year.  2016 was another profitable year for horror films, with the exception of a few high profile bombs. 

The undisputed horror box office champ was The Conjuring 2.  James Wan’s sequel to his 2013 film that showcased the further adventures of renowned ghost hunters, Ed and Loraine Warren, raked in $102.5 million domestically, and $320.2 million worldwide.  The largest foreign market happened to be Mexico, where the Conjuring 2 made $20.5 million.  Although the film was not the critical success of Wan’s first film, it appears like there is no stopping this franchise, whether Wan returns to the director’s chair or not. read more

Dr. Strange Enchants Box Office to the Tune of $85 Million

Surpassing inital industry estimates of $70 million, Dr. Strange reignited November box office receipts with an estimated $84,989 million dollar haul.

The critical and financial success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (to the envy of DC fans and Warner Brothers executives) is well established, but there is always trepidation when a new character makes the leap from a traditional four-color comic to the silver screen.  Doctor Strange, anchored by an all-star cast and lead by Benedict Cumberbatch,  proves that general audiences, hardcore fans, and critics have not had their fill of Marvel’s vast super hero universe.   read more

Doctor Strange Strong Out of the Gate with $32.6 Million on First Day of Release

Doctor Strange, Marvel’s first foray into the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, opened with a robust $32.6 million on its first day of release. This total also includes $9.4 million in Thursday previews.  

As reported by Seth Kelly of Variety, the film’s estimated weekend “…would put “Doctor Strange” ahead of other Marvel film openings like “Thor” ($65.7 million) and “Ant-Man” ($57.2 million), but behind characters with higher name-recognition like 2008’s “Iron Man” ($98.6 million) and, of course, films that band together multiple heroes like “Marvel’s The Avengers” ($207.4 million). Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Doctor Strange” is posting numbers that most closely align with 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World” ($85.7 million). Last time this year the Bond film “Spectre” topped the box office with $70 million.” read more

Horror Films Missing from Theater Schedules this October

Historically, horror films have always staked a claim on the month of October.  In a month dominated by Halloween decorations and haunted houses, the opportunity to see a horror film at you local multiplex has always been “par for the course” for horror fans.  If you are planning on continuing this October tradition, you may find your options severly limited this year when compared to Halloweens past.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is the only major studio, wide-release horror film that will debut this October.  This is in stark contrast to the October 2015 release list.  Last October saw the release of no less than five horror-themed films including: Crimson Peak, Goosebumps, The Last Witch Hunter, Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension, and Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.  While the quality of these films varies greatly, the fact is that horror fans had a typically large selection of films to satisfy their Halloween cravings.   read more