YOU'RE NEXT / THE GUEST director Adam Wingard's BLAIR WITCH, a long-awaited sequel to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, hit theatres this past weekend, and apparently the number of audience members interested in seeing a new group of people get terrorized in the Black Hills Forest was not very high. Although the movie was getting a lot of hype in the build-up to its release, with some heralding it as an event that would change the face of horror, BLAIR WITCH opened below expectations, landing in second place with just $9.7 million. Playing on 3,121 screens, it averaged $3,092 per location.
BLAIR WITCH's weak opening could be a sign of change in the horror genre after all, especially when coupled with the $18 million total the final PARANORMAL ACTIVITY film, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION, made at the domestic box office. Both of these movies were done in the found footage style, and the low box office numbers could indicate that the general audience is becoming weary of found footage. If they're going to stop showing up for these movies, we could finally see an end to the found footage trend.
Still, found footage is known for providing a good return on investment. The budgets are low, so it's not hard to make a profit on them. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION had a budget of $10 million, and when you take the global box office into account it ended up with $78 million. That's a fine amount. BLAIR WITCH had a budget of $5 million, so even its disappointing opening surpassed that. Of course, there are marketing costs to cover and exhibitors get their cut, but BLAIR WITCH could turn out okay in the long run. It's just not what the people behind it were hoping for, and doesn't bode well for the future of the BLAIR WITCH franchise.
There would be hope that word of mouth could give BLAIR WITCH a box office boost, but with only 37% of the critical reviews being positive and the audience that did go to see it giving it a D+ CinemaScore, it doesn't look like word of mouth is going to be much help.
Scripted by Simon Barrett, BLAIR WITCH stars James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Valorie Curry, Corbin Reid, and Wes Robinson.
A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James’ sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.
BLAIR WITCH may be perceived as a failure, but Barrett does have a good sense of humor about the weekend's results:
Well, our horror film may have been a disappointment at the box office this weekend, but at least we got overwhelmingly negative reviews.— Simon Barrett (@Simon_Barrett) September 18, 2016