Adding to the woes of the critically well received but under-performing Blade Runner: 2049, the relatively low-budget Blumhouse horror movie Happy Death Day trounced it in last weekend’s box-office. To say this is an “upset” for big-budget “franchise” movies—already struggling after a terrible Summer—is an understatement.
Happy Death Day in its debut earned $26.5 million—it cost $5 million to produce. In contrast, Blade Runner: 2049 only made $15.1 million in its second weekend, dropping 54 percent from its first week; it has only made around $60.6 million so far, costing $150 million to produce (to be fair, it’s also racking up $ in the foreign market, but still a bit underperforming).
So in a very interesting development, these modestly-budgeted Blumhouse/Universal horror movies—Happy Death Day, Get Out, and Split—are beating the pants off of the tentpole “blockbusters,” especially when you factor in cost and returns. (and let’s not forget New Line/Warner Bros.’ IT & Annabelle: Creation, another two big winners of 2017).
Could it be that America just has a case of “blockbuster fatigue?”
And/or are these “can’t lose” epic franchise movies (and/or their stars) just not “connecting” with U.S. audiences anymore? Has a “gulf” been created between the wider public (outside “niche” fandoms) and the content?
Is it just easier to lose oneself and get emotionally involved within a tight tense horror movie with a mostly unknown cast?
We live in interesting times—and great times for horror fans!
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