Mood Indicator: Horror Still Raking In Box Office Receipts

Horror films are popular during periods of negative social mood. The top movie at the box office this weekend was A Quiet Place. It shocked the industry with $50 million in revenue.

Aside: I went to see it this week and its quite good for a horror movie. It even got a good review in the National Catholic Register: SDG Reviews ‘A Quiet Place’

AP: Horror, cheap and in-demand, comes to Hollywood’s rescue
Finding dependable, bankable box-office hits for anything without a superhero has been a downright scary proposition for Hollywood.

The solution, it turns out, is a nightmare, too.

Horror has emerged as one of the most lucrative and in-demand genres in Hollywood, a box-office success story as well as — thanks to a new generation of ambitious genre filmmakers — a creative one. Like perhaps never before, horror is hot. For an industry that has struggled to find areas of growth outside of the pages of comic books, it’s now hailing slashers as saviors.

“Right now it’s pretty obvious what audiences want,” says Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. “People want their horror fast and cheap. And that should be music to the ears of studios.”
Depending on what you classify as horror, the genre last year accounted for about $800 or $900 million in domestic box office, one of the highest totals in decades if not ever. New Line and Warner Bros.′ “It” became the highest grossing horror film of all time ($327.5 million domestically, $700.4 million worldwide), though 1973′s “The Exorcist” still has it handily beat when accounting for inflation. A sequel to “It” will shoot this summer.

The success of “A Quiet Place” confirms that horror is still surging. That’s good news for upcoming releases like A24′s Sundance sensation “Hereditary” (June 8); “The First Purge: The Island” (July 4); the latest “Conjuring” spinoff, “The Nun” (July 13); Screen Gems’ “Slender Man” (August 24); David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” (October 19) from Blumhouse; and the anticipated “Suspiria” remake from “Call Me By Your Name” filmmaker Luca Guadagnino.

The once-ghettoized genre is more mainstream than ever before. On TV, “Stranger Things,” ″American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead” have been among the most popular series in recent years. At the movies, films like Robert Eggers’ “The Witch,” Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook” and David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows” have heralded the breakouts of some of the most promising young filmmakers.
Not bullish.

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