It was the worst summer movie season in a decade, but us horror fans aren’t sweating it. Our genre killed in 2017, decimating everything in its path. Two films continue to hit milestones, collectively nearing $800 million worldwide.
First, and most notable, is Andy Muschietti‘s IT, the Stephen King adaptation that propelled Pennywise into pop culture stardom, and turned Finn Wolfhard into a superstar. Originally a Warner Bros. production, the film was shifted over to New Line Cinema after a series of budget issues and butting heads with director Cary Fukunaga. Saying IT exceeded expectations is an understatement. As of this writing, the film is just $6M shy of hitting $700M worldwide!
This will be such a tremendous feat and cause for celebration, but let’s not allow other news outlets to convince you it’s the biggest horror film of all time. M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Sixth Sense inflated to top $1B, while William Friedkin‘s The Exorcist adjusts to around $1.8 BILLION. If you want to include Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws, you’re talking over $2 BILLION. Yeesh.
Digressing, let’s take a look at Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate’s Jigsaw, their eighth film in the Saw franchise that I saw called a “failure” and “disappointment” by several publications. It’s far from it, now topping $100M worldwide. Shot on a reported budget of only $10M, it needed to hit approximately $40M to break even, making this a monstrous success. So big, in fact, I could see Jigsaw’s games continuing, maybe even as a television series. The reason many wrote this off as a flop (without doing any investigating) is because Jigsaw, as good as it’s doing, came in about $40M less than its 2010 predecessor, Saw 3D. It’s called diminishing returns, and it’s also been several years since we’ve seen a Saw film in theaters. Frankly, I’m surprised so many people turned out to see it considering the younger generation didn’t grow up with the first eight films.
If you include Split, Get Out, Annabelle: Creation, among other genre films, horror could top $2B this year. I think it’s time the Acadamy takes notice and instead of making fun of our successes (see the Saw “skit” in the 2005 Acadamy Awards) embraces them. For now, we’ll just gloat as a community about how horror is not and never was dead.