Why horror movies hit the box office all year round | Techno Glob

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CNN Business

One of Paramount’s biggest blockbusters of the year is a surprise hit that hasn’t slowed down at the box office since opening at No. 1 a few weeks ago. No, I’m not talking about “Top Gun: Maverick”. I’m talking about “Smile,” the studio’s smash hit.

The film, which stars Susie Bacon as a psychiatrist tormented by nightmares of terrifying ghosts, opened to $22.6 million at the domestic box office in late September. The collection isn’t that remarkable on paper, but it was enough to take the top spot in its opening weekend and exceed the film’s modest $17 million production budget.

“Masquerade” then did something Hollywood didn’t expect: It made nearly the same amount in its second weekend, up just 18% in ticket sales to $18.5 million. It’s almost unheard of for a big movie. For example, “Thor: Love and Thunder” dropped nearly 70 percent in its second weekend in July.

And “Muskara” continues to find audiences, grossing nearly $200 million worldwide over the past month.

“When we first saw it, you could see how the audience reacted to it. They were just completely terrified. It played through the roof,” Mark Weinstock, Paramount’s president of global marketing and distribution, told CNBC. “We knew it was a movie that people wanted to experience in theaters,” Ann told Business.

“Masquerade” also had a strong rollout and marketing campaign with strong word of mouth. Rather than giving too much away, the trailer cleverly teases out the scary bits of the film. Paramount also promoted the film by having the actors smile in the background of televised events.

“We had people on the morning show with creepy smiles, a bunch of baseball games and it went better than we expected,” Weinstock said. “Even if you weren’t a baseball fan, it went viral on social media.

And “Muskara” isn’t alone in bucking industry trends at the box office.

Many horror films have done the same this year, showing that – aside from superhero movies – horror is the most reliable genre at the Hollywood box office.

The film industry is still recovering from the pandemic. Audience numbers are high and the overall North American box office is about 34% below pre-Covid 2019 levels. In short, it’s a scary time for Hollywood.

Yet horror continues to be seemingly immune to the streaming revolution. “Masquerade,” Universal’s “The Black Phone” and 20th Century Studio’s “Barbarian” are all examples of low-budget horror films that got audiences off the couch and into theaters.

Even “Traffier 2,” a slasher film about a killer clown that reportedly caused viewers to vomit and faint in theaters, is finding an audience. The film, which came in with a reported budget of just $250,000, has grossed more than $7.6 million worldwide — more than 30 times its production cost.

“No longer marginalized, audiences in the horror genre are drawn to the chills and thrills that only the movie theater, with its community and immersive experience, can deliver,” said Paul Degarabedian, senior media at Comscore (SCOR). Analysts told CNN Business.

Not only does horror have broad appeal – and is usually produced on the cheap – the genre is also unique in Hollywood at the moment because the experience is markedly different for those watching at home or in theaters. Studios benefit from a higher rate of return and are able to lure viewers away from Netflix ( NFLX ).

“Where else can you be with hundreds of strangers in a room all having the same experience?” Weinstock said. “You’re not worried, you’re just sitting there and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.” I think this is something you can only experience in the theater.

Dergarabedian added that “a systematic increase in quality over the years has not hurt.”

“The old model of sub-par, money-grabbing horror fests aimed at killing it on Friday and releasing big money on Saturday is mostly a thing of the past, as the genre’s new creative custodians have a solid overall experience. More attention is paid to the viewer,” he said. “Box office results have suffered terribly.”

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