Universal’s new horror-thriller “Five Nights at Freddy’s” scared up a monstrous $78 million debut domestically over the Halloween weekend, obliterating box office expectations and scoring the second-highest opening ever for a streaming day-and-date release.
The Blumhouse production based on the popular survival video game series landed simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock. Its killer launch tops recent horror hits like “Scream VI” ($44M) and “The Nun II” ($32M) to become 2022’s biggest horror opening yet.
With a $20 million budget, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” marks a major theatrical win for Universal and Blumhouse. The spooky game adaptation also secured the second-biggest video game movie opening ever behind “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” ($72M), showing the huge built-in appeal of the survival horror franchise.
“The IP is hugely popular, and Blumhouse did an incredible job bringing it to the big screen,” said Universal’s President of Distribution Jim Orr. “The genre invites people to experience it together.”
The creepy animatronic mascots of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza come alive at night to terrorize a hapless night guard (Josh Hutcherson) in the new adaptation. Reviews were lackluster but audiences awarded it an A- CinemaScore, indicating strong word of mouth that could prevent the typical horror drop-off.
“It’s so fun when it works. Thank you all for your patience — we wanted to get it just right for the fans,” said Blumhouse founder Jason Blum. “Biggest Blumhouse opening of all time!”
Freddy Frights His Way Globally
Internationally, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” added $52 million for a killer global debut of $130 million. That surpasses “The Nun 2” ($88M) for the biggest worldwide horror opening of 2022. It’s also Blumhouse’s top global debut ever, beating 2018’s “Halloween” ($92M).
The timely Halloween release and lack of competition from strike-hindered new releases created the perfect storm for Freddy.
“It carved out success through great marketing materials and social media, not star power or interviews,” said analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. “This type of release is unimpacted by the strike.”
Big Win for Theaters
During a slow spell worsened by the SAG strike, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a major boost to movie theaters. The horror genre has proven resilient lately since scary thrills play well on the big screen.
As the biggest horror debut of 2022, “Freddy’s” frigthening launch proves audiences still crave communal theatrical experiences for certain genres. It also continues Blumhouse’s unmatched consistent success in horror.
Scorsese’s ‘Flower Moon’ Wilts
While Freddy soared, Martin Scorsese’s big-budget crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon” dropped 61% in its second frame with $9 million. The $200 million Apple Original film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro has made $40.6 million domestically and $88 million globally for Paramount — not yet justifying its steep price tag.
As an Apple production seeking to boost its eventual streaming viewership, “Flower Moon” has murkier metrics of success than typical studio releases. But its rapid decline shows a lack of staying power, especially compared to star-driven hits pre-strike. Strong reviews and two icons in DiCaprio and Scorsese were not enough to capture audience interest long-term.
Swift Stays Strong
Holding better was Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour,” which snagged another $14.7 million for a $149.3 million domestic and $203 million global cume. The concert documentary’s part-time theatrical release through AMC has proven a massive success, keeping Swift’s fans satisfied while increasing demand for her upcoming tour.
Priscilla Presleys Debuts
Among specialty releases, Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla” starring Cailee Spaeny opened well with $132K on just four screens. The stylistic portrait of Elvis’ wife lands in theaters ahead of award season and will expand nationwide November 3.
Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” also bowed solidly with $33K per screen. Focus’ dramady about a prep school over Christmas expanded to 60 theaters in its sophomore frame.
Freddy’s frightening win combined with holdovers like Swift shows movie theaters still have legs, especially for certain genres, even through the ongoing SAG strike. With Halloween now over, all eyes turn to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” to continue November’s positive momentum.
What did you think of this spooky-good Freddy debut? Let us know in the comments and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest box office news.