As Pennywise scares up record numbers, we pine for the return of another icon.
In the wake of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street coming along and changing the face of horror, New Line Cinema was appropriately dubbed “The House That Freddy Built”; after all, the ensuing franchise’s 10-year box office dominance turned the fledgling independent company into a major Hollywood player.
All these years later, New Line is once again on top of the horror world thanks to the continuing success of The Conjuring Universe and, of course, this past weekend’s IT. The final domestic numbers reveal that Andy Muschietti’s new adaptation of Stephen King’s novel pulled in $123 million over the weekend, making it the most successful opening weekend for a horror movie in the history of cinema. Furthermore, it’s already one of the most dominant rated-R movies of all time.
Horror, it seems, has never been more ALIVE.
What lessons should Hollywood be learning from IT‘s record-shattering performance? Well, for starters, it should now be crystal clear that horror films, like superhero films, can be big-budget tentpoles for studios. Furthermore, Muschietti and the gang have sent the message that audiences are hungry for the kind of truly terrifying, go-for-broke horror that made the genre so dominant in, well, the decade that Freddy Krueger reigned supreme.
Hey, that gives me an idea…
It’s no secret that the box office success (or failure) of one big horror movie starts to give studios ideas about other big horror movies they may be considering; Scream, for example, ushered in a whole new wave of teen slashers, while the recent under-performance of Rings effectively killed the in-the-works reboot of the Friday the 13th franchise. As fans, we may not measure the success of any given film by the money it has made, but the reality is that the studio heads in charge of the genre most definitely do.
With IT making such a killing in just three days, you can bet that every major studio is right about now holding boardroom meetings in an effort to capitalize on the fact that horror is the hottest thing in Hollywood at the moment. The landscape of horror is very likely going to be changing in the coming years… and the future is looking bright.
So then, what’s next? Well, if the Elm Street-esque IT made you hungry for the return of Freddy, you certainly weren’t alone this weekend. It’s impossible to look at IT‘s box office numbers and not think that New Line is sitting on a similar goldmine with the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise; a goldmine that has remained untapped for nearly ten years now.
Back in 2010, New Line and Platinum Dunes reached the #1 spot on the box office charts with Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, a remake that managed to turn a profit while also disappointing most fans of the franchise; a lifeless, uninspired reboot, Elm Street ’10 essentially killed the franchise that it was supposed to re-animate.
Seven years later, we haven’t heard a peep from Freddy Krueger. It was reported back in 2015 that New Line had hired David Leslie Johnson (The Conjuring 2) to write the script for another Elm Street reboot, but it seems the focus was soon shifted to the two-part IT and the aforementioned Conjuring Universe.
What’s the latest on all that, you ask?
We reached out to several sources who all tell us that, as of this past weekend, there is absolutely zero internal talk at New Line about the return of Freddy.
Of course, this could soon change. No matter what we’ve been told, I can’t imagine there’s a single person over at New Line who didn’t have an imaginary light bulb go off over their head at some point this past weekend. It would seem to be a no-brainer that a well-done reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street could potentially kick as much box office ass as Pennywise and the Losers’ Club are right about now, as well as further solidify New Line’s status as The House Where Horror Icons Flourish.
And New Line sure could take a few notes from their own IT, if they choose to put the same amount of effort into making Freddy Krueger a dominant force of terror once more. Maybe the most impressive thing IT accomplished is creating a new Pennywise who has already become an icon in a completely new, standalone way. Muschietti’s IT has proven that you indeed can reinvent an iconic movie monster for a whole new generation without simply recreating the past, which would be a smart way to approach Freddy’s inevitable revival.
As for how exactly a new Elm Street movie could be executed, well, that ball is entirely in New Line’s court. But if they’re as unafraid to spend money and as committed to making a truly scary film as they were with IT, then I don’t see why New Line couldn’t enjoy the same level of success with a new take on Wes Craven’s dream demon.
Now is the time, New Line. And we’re hungrier than ever.