Over the weekend, the new indie horror movie A Quiet Place scared up a monster debut to the tune of $50 million domestically. That’s the second biggest opening weekend of 2018, behind only Black Panther, continuing the recent success of horror movies. It solidifies the notion that horror movies are in demand, and if marketed properly, they can be blockbusters.
Horror movies have seen a breakthrough over the past couple years from niche movies to full on box office successes. From The Conjuring to the Paranormal Activity movies, horror movies have gone mainstream, creating an unexpected demand.
That in and of itself isn’t surprising – people like being scared – but what is surprising is the level of success these movies are having. They’re not just succeeding, they’re performing better than stereotypical blockbuster movies.
Let’s put A Quiet Place’s opening into context. The horror film by John Krasinski had a bigger opening this year than supposed blockbusters like Ready Player One ($41 million), A Wrinkle in Time ($33 million), Pacific Rim Uprising ($28 million) and Tomb Raider ($23 million). The first three of those carried a budget of well over $100 million to produce while A Quiet Place only cost $17 million.
Sure, some of those will end up making more money overall in the international market, but if studios just want a cheap hit movie, it’s hard to argue against well-made horror movies.
Moreso, it set a new precedent for horror movies. It had a bigger opening than any of The Conjuring franchise movies and topped all but one of the Paranormal Activity movies. It also topped last year’s unexpected horror hit, Split.
The high point for horror movies is still last year’s It, which opened with $123 million. That, however, was a complete aberration. Expecting a horror movie to reach that level of success is folly – it just isn’t happening on a consistent basis. But expecting horror movies to perform like A Quiet Place is definitely warranted.
You can read up on why A Quiet Place is so good in our review.