Five Nights at Freddy’s is poised to break out this weekend as spooky season crescendos and Blumhouse unleashes one of its most anticipated films.
The gold standard studio of modern horror hits has produced two films that have opened to more than $50 million: 2018’s Halloween ($76.2 million) and 2011’s Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.6 million). The top PG-13 horror bow among all studios belongs to Paramount’s A Quiet Place ($50.2 million).
2018’s Halloween represents the fifth highest October opening ever, only behind Joker ($96.2 million), Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour ($92.8 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million), and Venom ($80.3 million).
On the topic of previews, It ($13.5 million), It: Chapter Two ($10.5 million), and the 2018 Halloween ($7.7 million) stand as the top three in horror history.
Can Freddy challenge those record-holders? Studio expectations stood at $40 million to $50 million earlier in the week, highlighting the wide range of scenarios being modeled as Freddy’s release approaches and more bullish projections take hold.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
Universal Pictures & Blumhouse
October 27, 2023 (WIDE)
Opening Weekend Range: $65M-$85M
- Pre-sales have continued to land on the higher end of expectations in recent weeks and days, with previews pacing higher than Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Scream VI, last year’s fellow Universal/Blumhouse hybrid release Halloween Ends, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- Highlighting not just the potential for diminished front-loading but also the film’s attraction to teen and young adult audiences, Friday sales are exceeding those of Thursday. That’s in contrast to other preview-heavy, fan-driven films based on pre-existing IP, which often drive a higher share of preview sales in the days leading up to release.
- With Halloween this year landing on Tuesday, Freddy’s release on Halloween weekend, when most people will be celebrating the holiday, bodes well for the film: The synergy of an IP-based, PG-13 horror flick with Universal and Blumhouse’s combined reputation among genre fans is hard to ignore during peak spooky season.
- Preliminary reviews from international critics aren’t encouraging, though this is somewhat expected given the studio’s decision to lift the embargo so close to release. To that end, horror films are often the least impacted by critics’ opinions relative to other genres, so audience reception will be far more important to monitor.
- The added factor of a hybrid release, pairing a theatrical run with day-and-date streaming on Peacock, skews projected walk-up business throughout the weekend, as does the varied history of video game adaptations when it comes to crossover appeal outside the initiated audience base.
- Average ticket prices will likely skew below the median of most horror films given Freddy‘s target young audience and exhibitors’ late addition of premium screens deep into the pre-sales window, further complicating forecast models.
Current projection ranges call for a 96% increase from the comparable weekend’s top ten aggregate of $63.6 million in 2022 and a 36% increase from 2019’s $91.5 million frame.
|Film||Studio||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 29||Fri Location Count Projection (as of Wed)||3-Day % Change from Last Wknd|
|Five Nights at Freddy’s||Universal Pictures & Blumhouse||$78,000,000||$78,000,000||~3,500||NEW|
|Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour||AMC Theatres Distribution & Variance Films||$14,600,000||$148,600,000||~3,855||-56%|
|Killers of the Flower Moon||Paramount Pictures & Apple||$12,500,000||$44,100,000||~3,628||-46%|
|After Death||Angel Studios||$5,700,000||$5,700,000||~2,600||NEW|
|PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie||Paramount Pictures||$3,000,000||$60,100,000||~2,900||-32%|
|The Nightmare Before Christmas: 30th Anniversary||Walt Disney Pictures||$2,900,000||$86,100,000||~1,900||-32%|
|The Exorcist: Believer||Universal Pictures & Blumhouse||$2,800,000||$59,000,000||~2,700||-51%|
|The Creator||20th Century Studios||$1,400,000||$39,300,000||~1,500||-48%|
All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.
Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.
The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.