Escape Room entered a crowded marketplace this weekend, but Sony’s PG-13 “Saw-lite” film managed to finish second with an estimated $18 million at the box office.
Heading into the weekend, most analysts predicted that the film would be lucky to finish fifth, behind Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, and Bumblebee. The fact that Escape Room defeated all but Aquaman (and played on 1,300 less screens than it’s closest competitor, Mary Poppins), is certainly impressive and proved that the timing was right for some jump scares and a younger, photogenic cast.
Many insiders were predicting a smaller return for director Adam Robitel’s Escape Room based on a lower than average social media presence (which goes to show that hits on social media do not always guarantee that people will buy tickets to a film). According to Deadline, “Social Media metrics group RelishMix wasn’t impressed with the online reach for Escape Room: Few in the pic’s cast have social media pull, the pic has a moderate social media universe near 58M from Facebook, YouTube views, Instagram and Twitter, the video viral rate is low at 9:1 (short of the 13:1 average for a horror film).” The film fared well for a low-budget horror film (with production costs estimated to be in the $9 million dollar range) on Rotten Tomatoes, earning a score of 52% (and a slightly higher audience rating at 65% and a B grade from tracking service Cinemascore).
While all horror films experience a precipitous drop after the first weekend of release, Escape Room should continue to generate a profit for Sony, especially when international box office is accounted for. Escape Room will also play without any direction competition throughout January and into February, with the only other teen-related horror film on the horizon being Happy Death Day 2u, scheduled for a Valentine’s Day release.
Be sure to come back next week to check on the box office fate of Escape Room and check out our annual Winter Horror Movie Preview to keep informed about all of the upcoming releases this season.