Halloween isn’t for another six weeks, but a new horror film made movie goers think Jack O’ Lanterns and candy corn all the same.
Insidious: Chapter 2, the second shocker directed by The Conjuring’s James Wan this year, scored a hefty $42 million over the weekend to easily win the box office crown. Impressive figures for a film with a $5 million budget and no A-list stars.
The film, featuring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and screenwriter Leigh Whannell, continues the haunted tale of the Lambert family.
Meanwhile, the Robert De Niro mob comedy The Family came in a distant second with $14 million.
Chapter 2, as most critics agreed, is a weak attempt to make the 2011 original a new horror franchise. Weekend audiences couldn’t know that for sure, so they simply responded to the well-told scares of the source material.
The first Insidious earned $13 million in its opening weekend, but robust world of mouth allowed it to total $54 million domestically. Horror fans, starved for quality, were eager for more.
The horror genre gets little respect in Hollywood. Prestige directors rarely engage the material, and Oscar voters prefer period fare and biopics to movies that make audiences squirm. The industry should still take some lessons from this week’s box office figures. Audiences respond to quality, not marketing hype. Ticket buyers would rather see a good story than another De Niro paycheck grab. And, most importantly, studios need not break the bank to see a profit.