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Top 10 Biggest Horror Box Office Openings of All Time


The official final numbers aren’t even in yet, but IT is set to have the biggest opening weekend ever for a horror film. But just how high is Andy Muschietti’s film floating above the competition?

Of course, there are always blurred lines when it comes to what counts as horror or not (N.B. yes, IT, the film about a child-eating clown monster is a goddamn horror movie!). Films like World War Z, Prometheus, Godzilla, I Am Legend, The Mummy Returns, Signs, Jurassic Park and Van Helsing are undoubtedly inspired by horror, but I’ve excluded them here as I consider them to operate more as action adventure or sci-fi films, not to mention their blockbuster budgets: likewise, the Scary Movie films, which did big business, but were viewed by most as comedies. But I’d say it’s hard to argue with this list of top 10 domestic opening weekends (all figures thanks to Box Office Mojo):

  • IT (2017) – $117,150,000 (estimated)
  • Hannibal (2001) – $58,003,121
  • Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) – $52,568,183
  • The Village (2004) – $50,746,142
  • The Conjuring (2013) – $41,855,326
  • Shutter Island (2010) – $41,062,440
  • Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) – $40,678,424
  • Friday the 13th (2009) – $40,570,365
  • The Conjuring 2 (2016) – $40,406,314
  • Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)- $40,272,103

That means that, unless the Sunday estimates don’t hold up, IT will have doubled the previous record holder. And, if anything, the numbers could creep up a little.

But what about inflation, I hear you cry! Well, that’s where this weekend becomes even more impressive. The Stephen King adaptation still comes out on top when inflation is taken into account:

  • IT (2017) – $117,150,000 (estimated)
  • Hannibal (2001) – $91,103,800
  • Interview with the Vampire (1994) – $77,393,400
  • The Village (2004) – $72,646,200
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – $65,382,600
  • Scream 2 (1997) – $63,772,400
  • Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) – $59,684,700
  • The Haunting (1999) – $58,511,500
  • Scream 3 (2000) – $57,254,500
  • The Grudge (2004) – $56,015,200

Suffice to say, this is unprecedented for a horror film. At this rate, there’s every chance IT becomes the highest grossing horror film of all time in the US. A mere 2.5x multiplier (totally possible – Annabelle: Creation is at 2.75x already) gets the film above The Sixth Sense’s $294m gross in 1999.

One record IT won’t be breaking, however, is the highest grossing horror film adjusted for inflation. The Exorcist will continue to hold that crown safe for a long while yet, given that film’s (deep breath!) $983m adjusted total, including reissues.

Not that any of us needed the memo, but horror is box office gold. Always has been; always will be. Maybe this is the film that will finally make the studios start paying attention…



  • The Exorcist is untouchable with inflation! Crazy

  • lupe

    Damn. “The Village” is the only original film in this list?

    • MODOK

      That’s interesting. I hadn’t even noticed that at first. All the others are remakes, sequels and/or book adaptations. Now I’m curious to know what the top-10 original horror movies are.

  • Wes Draven

    I feel the need to point out that The Exorcist made 232 million domestically and 208 million overseas. The 983 million is its domestic gross, and that’s without accounting for the 208 million overseas, the number would be much larger if we adjusted that 208 million in.

  • zombie84_41

    I just read on that IT made $179.2 million world wide. That is fuckin insane. I’m so proud.

    • Wes Draven

      It actually improved on that! 185 million!

      • zombie84_41

        sick dude

    • Tobias Is Risen, Hallelujah!

      Why are you proud? Were you involved in the production?

      • zombie84_41

        because its nice to see a horror movie do good you fuckin dickless soul suckin cunt.

        • Tobias Is Risen, Hallelujah!

          Do you know what the word “proud” means? If English is not your native language, let me know.

          • MarsupialRebellion

            As a horror fan I’m proud it made that much too, showing that rated R horror films can still be profitable, showing the suits they’re wrong. You know what he means, you’re simply being a twat for whatever reason.

          • Tobias Is Risen, Hallelujah!

            I’m not being a twat (so eloquent). I don’t see what there is to be proud of. I still don’t see what you’re proud of. You didn’t do anything. Maybe you’re glad that it made so much because it means more horror movies may be made? That word would seem more appropriate. Try to think before you reply to me; you come off as dumb and really young when you’re talking about “suits”.

            I take it you don’t wear a tie to work? Retail pig?

          • Tiger Quinn


          • scryberwitch

            It’s like when you say you’re “proud” of whatever sportsteam you’re into when they win a game. You’re not on the team. You don’t own the team. But you *identify* with the team. There’s whole multi-billion-dollar industries based on this idea. Stop being dense.

          • Tiger Quinn

            Given grammar, syntax, and general tone, I doubt it’s YOURS either. At least, educated English.

        • Tobias Is Risen, Hallelujah!

          Are you proud to see a horror movie do well though? You changed the word.

          • Tiger Quinn

            Why do people feed trolls.

      • Jay Brezzy

        Oh come on now…

        • Tobias Is Risen, Hallelujah!

          Great comment. Thanks for chiming in. You should be proud of your comment! I hope you are.

          • Jay Brezzy

            Oh come on now…

    • James Allard

      Right? My daughter lost her mind every time the box office crept higher for Wonder Woman. (I did too, a little… pretty much done with comic book movies, me).

      • zombie84_41

        yeah me too. I’m happy that did well too. Its nice to see women directors get some credit too. Sadly they aren’t many good women directors out there.

  • Colin Perkins

    World War Z, Prometheus and Godzilla are all horror in my book. I don’t know how people can not see the Godzilla series as horror.

    • Flu-Like Symptoms

      The original film, sure, and perhaps The Return of Godzilla as well. Not sure you could slap the horror label on any of the other films.

  • Nicholas Heath Kinsman

    Holy shit, It is at $123,403,419 for the total weekend. Just saw it a 2nd time and laughed even harder at the “How do you think Betty Ripsom feels?” joke.

  • Elizabeth

    If I wish I could get a refund for The Village and The Haunting.

  • scryberwitch

    This is awesome news. With the runaway success of Stranger Things, American Horror Story, The Handmaid’s Tale (yes I consider it a form of horror), and more Stephen King novels being adapted, I’d say we’re in another golden age of horror! And for that I’m glad!

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