The theatrical day and date model has been one that has been scrutinized over the past few years as the world tried to figure out how to release movies during a global pandemic. Warner Bros famously saw their entire 2021 slate receive simultaneous releases on their HBO streaming service and felt the wrath of filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan. But every so often, that model proves not to be that big of a factor. For instance, this weekend saw Universal release the video game adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy’s to the record-breaking number of $78 million, $13 million more than we predicted on Thursday. That number makes it the second highest-grossing opening for a video game adaptation of all time after The Super Mario Bros Movie took in $146.3 million earlier this year while also breaking the Halloween weekend record previously held by Puss in Boots.
Tracking for this movie was all over the place, ranging from $50 million all the way up to $95 million. The long view was due to the fact that no one knew how big of a draw the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise was combined with the uncertainty of the fact that you could watch it in your own homes on Peacock. The good news is that it seems most people still prefer going to the theaters to take in a film like this with a group of like-minded strangers. Any concern that theaters would soon be a thing of the past seems to be continuously put to rest.
The real test for the movie will come next weekend. The last theatrical day and date that Blumhouse released, Halloween Kills saw an opening weekend of $49.4 million before it had a horrific second-weekend drop off of over 70%. Reviews for that one were horrible at 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Five Nights at Freddy’s fares much worse at just 25%, including a 4/10 from our own Tyler Nichols. The big difference between the two is the audience score, where Halloween Kills saw just 66% while Five Nights is looking at 89%.
The dominant movie of the past few weeks, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, saw a decline of 56%, with a $14.7 million third weekend take and a domestic total of $149.3 million. Not bad for a movie produced for $20 million and released outside of the studio system. Third place will go to Martin Scorsese and his 3-and-a-half-hour epic Killers of the Flower Moon with an estimated $9 million representing a drop of 61%, still a solid number for a western drama of that length. But I guess if some theaters are imposing their own intermissions, that length may not be as bad for some.
Fourth place is a bit of a surprise in that I don’t think anyone thought a faith-based documentary on near-death experiences would be a huge theatrical draw. Still, apparently, Angel Studios has their faithful, and those faithful showed up in droves as the documentary After Death was able to secure $5 million. Of course, if seeing angels isn’t your thing, you can go see the devil as he possesses a pair of children in The Exorcist: Believer, which saw a fourth-week total of $3.1 million.
Sixth place goes to the pups of Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie with an estimated $2.1 million, while seventh sees John Cena and Alison Brie star in the currently 0% fresh Freelance, which is looking at a $2 million domestic start. You can check out Chris Bumbray’s 5/10 review here, where he quite bluntly says the movie just isn’t funny!
Spots eight through ten belong to your holdovers, such as Saw X, with another $1.6 million added to its $50.2 million domestic total, while Disney’s 30th-anniversary re-release of the classic Christmas film The Nightmare Before Christmas is looking at another $2 million with The Creator bringing up the rear with another $1 million added to its not so great $38.8 domestic total.
Outside of the top ten, you have the longest-running movie to ever play theatrically, including not losing its streak, where it played to empty theaters for 54 weeks, as The Rocky Horror Picture Show continues its yearly expansion, where it played in 90 theaters and took in an estimated $619,000 while the perfect ten movie (according to Chris Bumbray) The Holdovers saw its limited debut with $190,000 in a handful of theaters resulting in a solid $31.7 thousand per screen average.
What do you make of Five Nights at Freddy’s success? Is it front-loaded or will it have legs? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly poll where we ask: What is your favorite PG13 rated Horror movie?