The 5 Highest-Grossing Horror Movies of 2023

Horror has been a bright spot on on the cinematic landscape over the last few years, with many films—some even originally destined for streaming—making it big at the box office.

No horror film released in 2023 has yet reached the highs of 2021’s top horror release, A Quiet Place: Part II ($160.2M), or 2022’s Nope ($123.2M)—but the year’s not over yet, and new entries in the Conjuring, Saw, and Exorcist franchises (plus Disney’s Haunted Mansion, out this weekend) will still hit theaters before the year is out. Here are the top five horror films of 2023 so far, ranked by domestic gross. Note: this article will be updated as the year goes on.

Post last updated Monday, November 6.

#1: Five Nights at Freddy’s*

still in theaters

Universal Studios

Release Date: October 27

Opening Weekend: $80M

Domestic Total: $127.2M (as of 11/14/2023)

Five Nights at Freddy’s marks the third Universal horror film to be released in October simultaneously in theaters and streaming on Peacock. Between 2021’s Halloween Kills (domestic gross $92M), 2022’s Halloween Ends (domestic gross $64M), and now FNAF, the studio clearly has a good thing going. The video game adaptation shattered expectations on opening weekend, largely on the strength of the young male demographic: 81% of opening weekend attendees were younger than 25, and 58% were male. A steep sophomore drop of -75.8% didn’t stop the film from surpassing Scream VI as the highest-grossing horror movie of 2023 after two weekends.

#2: Scream VI

Paramount Pictures

Release Date: March 10

Opening Weekend: $44.4M

Domestic Total: $108.1M

Paramount fast-tracked production on a sixth installment of the Scream franchise after its immediate prequel—simply titled Scream—became a bright spot on the Q1 2022 calendar, opening to $30M in mid-January. Scream VI moved the action away from the franchise’s typical suburban setting, relocating Ghostface and the rest to New York City. With $108.1M, it earned:

  • +32% above 2022’s Scream with $81.6M
  • +4% above 1996’s original Scream with $103.0M
  • +6% above 1997’s Scream 2 with $101.3M

Scream VI has the highest opening weekend ($44.4M) and highest overall gross of the series domestically, though adding in international grosses it comes in behind the original Scream and Scream 2.

#3: M3GAN

Universal Pictures

Release Date: January 6

Opening Weekend: $30.4M

Domestic Total: $95M

This Blumhouse Productions title became a surprise hit for Universal, riding a wave of positive buzz to just shy of $100M in North America. Word of mouth was a big factor for this film; a clip from the trailer of the title character dancing earned instant meme status in the run-up to release and was later parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”

A $30.4M opening was followed by weeks of strong holds, culminating in a total $95M domestic cume for this piece of original horror IP. A sequel is slated for January 17, 2025.

#4: The Nun II*

*still in theaters

Warner Bros.

Release Date: Sept 8

Opening Weekend: $32.6M

Domestic Total: $86.2M (as of 11/14/23)

The consistently reliable Conjuring franchise hit its peak in 2018 with spinoff The Nun, which boasts the highest opening weekend ($53.8M), international box office ($248.6M), and global box office ($363.3M) of the series to date—though its domestic total ($117.4M) came in around $20M under the $137.4M earned by 2013’s The Conjuring. The Nun II offers a case of diminishing returns, with a $32.6M opening and a roughly $82M domestic haul placing it solidly in the middle of the pack; internationally, its $167.7 gross a month into release accounts for 67.2 percent of its global total, which is roughly in line with the other Conjuring films. Still, the film had no problem outperforming fellow early autumn horror releases Saw X and Exorcist: Believer, likely in part due to those two films having an R rating, compared to The Nun II‘s PG-13.

#5: Insidious: The Red Door

Sony Pictures

Release Date: July 7

Opening Weekend: $33.0M

Domestic Total: $82.1M to date

Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Ty Simpkins of the original Insidious return for the latest installment in the franchise, with first-time feature director Wilson in the director’s chair. Compared to the other films in the Insidious series, The Red Door‘s opening cume falls in the middle of the pack: higher than the debut weekends of the first ($13.2M) and third ($22.6M) entries, but trailing Insidious: Chapter 2‘s $40.2M bow.

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