Horror movies usually hit big no matter when you release them, but October can help them do especially well. Almost every year, there’s a particular movie that outpaces all the rest, and for 2023, that distinction goes to the newly released Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Per Variety, the horror flick from Emma Tamini and starring Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, and Matthew Lillard has earned nearly $US131 million worldwide at time of writing. $US78 million of it came stateside, made more impressive by the fact that it released simultaneously on Peacock. (NBCUniversal hasn’t presently disclosed how it did on the streaming service, which adopted a similar release model for the last two Halloween movies, but it also stands as the studio’s best-performing hybrid film to date.) Having blown past initial projections of $US50 million, Freddy’s now has the biggest horror debut of 2023, placing it well ahead of the domestic debuts for Scream 6 ($US44.4 million) and The Nun II ($US32 million). It’s also the second-biggest domestic opening for a video game movie this year behind the $US146.3 million earned by Super Mario Bros. in the standard three-day period.
“It’s official,” wrote Blumhouse founder Jason Blum on Twitter. “We did something else. Biggest Blumhouse opening movie of all time. It’s so fun when it works. Thank you all so much for being patient with us on [Freddy’s]. We wanted to get it just right for the fans.”
A Five Nights at Freddy’s movie was always poised to be a big deal—the series gained popularity from its first game in 2014 thanks to streamers playing it (and getting scared out of their minds). An adaptation for the series was first revealed in 2018 with original Harry Potter film director Chris Columbus attached. That fell through, and Tammi was signed on just last year. Some films tried to get ahead of Freddy’s wave, but that didn’t fully take. With multiple sequels over the years, along with expanded media like novels and comics, Scott Cawthon’s series firmly has its hooks in an entire generation of movie audiences.
And it’ll likely stay that way for at least the next two weeks. In terms of genre fare, the next big film is The Marvels on November 10, followed by The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes the following week. Of the two, The Marvels has a bit of an uphill battle to climb: because of the strikes, the film’s leading trio of Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani haven’t been able to do the massive amounts of press that normally precedes these movies. What’s more, it’s coming amid a generally rocky year for the MCU, whose systemic cracks have become more noticeable to both audiences and those making these various films and shows. It may be that this year ends with Five Nights outperforming both of the year’s two big MCU flicks, in turn setting itself up as another hot new horror franchise that Blumhouse will be all too eager to make sequels of for the next decade or so.
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