December 26th, 1973.
William Friedkin’s horror masterpiece The Exorcist has more cojones than any mainstream horror film I’ve seen in years. It’s an amazingly brutal, profane, scary and funny film – one that simply couldn’t be made today within the studio system. Not a chance. The fact that this movie came out 39 years ago blows my mind.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, the film has taken in around $232,906,145 at the US Box Office and $208,400,000 in foreign markets for a combined worldwide total of $441,306,145. Huge numbers for a movie with a production budget of $10.5 million, a figure that by today’s studio standards seems scant. In short, the movie wasn’t just a hit – it was a global phenomenon (even though those numbers include the gross of 2000′s successful re-release).
I wasn’t even born 39 years ago and I imagine the same could be said by a large chunk of our readers. Why do you guys think we don’t see movies like The Exorcist hit that same level of mainstream awareness today? Are audiences weaker? Are the corporate-owned studios more cowardly? Is there some sort of new politically correct awareness that is actually increasing the limits on what’s deemed appropriate in the artistic marketplace? I have my own theories, but I want to here from you.