If January’s horror releases are any indication of what the rest of the year will look like, fans may be in for a “scary bad” New Year!
January’s latest disaster came in the form of DreamWorks/Universal’s PG-13 The Turning, which effectively “turned away” ticket buyers this weekend, finishing in sixth place with an estimated $6.6 million in sales.
The long-delayed horror film (originally scheduled to be released on February 22, 2019) has the the dubious distinction of earning an F from Cinemascore, just a few weeks after The Grudge remake earned the same rare grade from viewers. Only 20 films since 1979 have been graded F by opening night audiences, and the other metrics associated with The Turning seem to support this assessment. Critics and fans agree that The Turning is one to turn off, giving the picture an identical 12% score on Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer and Audience Score).
The financial failure of The Turning, The Grudge, and Underwater do not bode well for horror fans, at a time when many films are cleaning up at the box office such as the surprising Bad Boys III and World War One drama, 1917. Next up is the hard to categorize Gretel & Hansel, just in time for Super Bowl weekend. The only hope for discerning fans of the genre may be The Lodge, which will be released on a limited basis on February 7. There are currently plans to give The Lodge a wider-release, but hopefully the performance of January’s doomed films won’t influence distributors to steer clear of horror films this season.
Don’t forget to refer to HNN’s Winter Horror Guide for any signs of hope this season.