The passing of time provides us with context and perspective. And, when it comes to film, while box office is the most immediate gauge of a film’s impact – it’s not the best. Time and context are the best gauges. When you watch Slither or The Thing now do you think of their underwhelming box office? Probably not. You think about how you’ve seen them a million times and still love them (unless you read my article in October), which is how it should be. Box office is temporal and ultimately irrelevant to your enjoyment
But when you reverse this approach by taking films that you rarely even think about anymore and look up their grosses, you get some surprising results. IE – “That made HOW much?!” The same goes for movies that you love but assume – due to them actually being daring and good – that they must have been flops. With that in mind, I’ve decided to share the results of a recent foray into the past. Note that some of these films might not be “hits” when viewed through the lens of the return on their production budget (and these amounts don’t include foreign takes or ancillary revenue streams like DVD and VOD). No, these are just movies that shocked me when I saw certain numbers beside their title.
Head inside for 5 Horror Movies That Were Surprisingly Hits.
THE STRANGERS – Domestic Gross: $52,597,610
I really like The Strangers. It’s a bold, harsh and surprisingly mean movie as far as quasi-mainstream efforts go. So much so that I’m always surprised it did so well.
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005) – Domestic Gross: $65,233,369
When I think of the crop of modern remakes (post 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) – which is often – for some reason I NEVER even remember that this movie existed. But it does! And it did quite nicely apparently.
HALLOWEEN: H20 – Domestic Gross: $55,041,738
Considering how Scream 4 failed to crack $40M this is a surprisingly healthy take for an even more underwhelming entry in its respective franchise. And the Halloween films didn’t traditionally match the typical Scream entry in terms of their haul. Funnily enough, I’d peg this film’s success on the Scream/I Know What You Did Last Summer phenomenon of the late 90’s. Nubile teens on a poster glowering like the legitimacy of their generation depended on it? Ka-ching!
ANACONDA – Domestic Gross: $65,885,767
The success of Anaconda is a testament to the booming economy of the 90’s. People had enough money to wake up, roll out of bed and say, “f*ck it. I guess I’ll go see Anaconda.”
THE GRUDGE – Domestic Gross: $110,359,362
I mean, I kind of get it…? J-Horror was most certainly “a thing” in the first half of the aughts. The Ring was a fairly massive hit and I remember The Grudge doing well enough… but 110 Million? That’s almost as big as The Ring and The Grudge was made for just a little over 1/5th of that film’s budget, technically making it even more profitable.