Despite some genuinely horrible reviews from critics and fans alike, The Exorcist: Believer saw a franchise best debut of $28 million.
The Exorcist: Believer saw a first weekend take of $27.2 million, coming in under even the most modest of projections, including our own low end $30 million prediction, yet still having the best opening of the franchise. That number represents a near $10 million improvement over the last theatrically released Exorcist film: 2004’s Exorcist: The Beginning ($18 million). That’s the good news, the bad news is that even with a franchise best opening and a reported budget of just $30 million before advertising, this opening is still a fairly sizable disappointment for the studio.
This film has gotten some absolutely horrendous reviews, including a 4/10 from our own Chris Bumbray who called it “awful.” Those reviews mixed with its horrible 54% audience score means this one will likely sink in the coming weeks. That is not what Universal needs from this film as they reportedly shelled out $400 million to retain the rights to the Exorcist franchise with hopes that a new trilogy could cover those costs. Surely the studio and producer Jason Blum thought they could recreate the success of 2018’s Halloween which garnered fairly solid reviews that translated into a $76.2 million opening on its way to a $159.3 million domestic total and a $259.9 million worldwide take.
All eyes will be on how much of a tumble this one takes next week, but with horrible reviews, bad word of mouth and a highly anticipated movie coming to theaters next week (Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour which has broken a number of records already before even opening), you can expect this one to take a Halloween Ends level fall (that movie lost 80% of its audience in its second week). Perhaps this one will play better at home when it hits Peacock in 45 days as the day and date releases of Halloween Kills/Ends were big hits for the streamer.
Spots two through five go to Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie which lost 48% of its audience with a $11.7 million second week while Saw X benefitted from its stellar reviews (the best reviewed movie in the entire franchise) and saw just a 55% drop in its audience for a second week take of $8.1 million. Films like these tend to have second week drops in the 60% range, so this is a better than expected hold for the Tobin Bell fronted film. Coming in fourth place with a 56% drop in its second week is The Creator with just $6.1 million. As we said last week, despite many audience members not finding this particular piece of IP to be a modern sci fi classic, studios should not be dissuaded from taking on original ideas in the future. I enjoy a comic book film as much as the next person, but nothing can ever top the first time I saw The Matrix in theaters and was absolutely blown away by something I had never ever experienced before. Experiences like that can go away if all we get are sequels and remakes. Coming in fifth place with $3.1 million is the The Blind which follows the faith based story of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson.
Spots six through nine go to your holdover titles such as A Haunting in Venice with $2.7 million followed by The Nun II which took a larger than expected tumble this week with $2.5 million, likely due to the addition of The Exorcist: Believer targeting a similar audience. Eighth place goes to Dumb Money which actually saw a decent hold, only losing 35% of its audience for a $2.1 million weekend. I can not sing the praises of this film enough and wish more people would have made it out to theaters to see it, but hopefully those who didn’t think a trip to their local multiplex was worth it for this stock market based film will make the time when it eventually hits home video. Ninth place goes to the Denzel Washington trilogy capper The Equalizer 3 with an additional $1.8 million. Rounding out the top ten is the 30th anniversary re-release of Hocus Pocus with an estimated weekend take of $1.5 million added to its lifetime gross of over $46 million.
Outside of the top ten but earning a respectable 31.5 thousand per screen average for a weekend take of $220,800 is the Larry Charles directed Dicks: The Musical.
What do you make of The Exorcist: Believer’s opening? Do you think it will have a massive drop next week? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check out our weekly poll where we ask What is your favorite horror film released in the past 2 years?
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/weekend-box-office-the-exorcist-believer-opens-with-soft-27-2-million/