There was an incredibly strong presence of horror in theaters this year, in fact, there was almost too many at one point. Late in July, Orphan and The Collector came out, followed by The Perfect Getaway in the beginning of August, then, on the same exact day, The Final Destination and Halloween 2 (or H2 if you're hip to be square) went head-to-head in a battle to end all battles (okay, maybe not end all)! By time we got to September, with even more films like Sorority Row, Pandorum, Whiteout, and Jennifer's Body, the horror market was flooded and nobody gave a shit anymore. I try and see as many horror films as I can theatrically, as long as their horror films that are appealing and promising, but there's no way you can be successful in a genre with such an overkill. We can't afford it! At least I can't and if you can, then good on ya...and give me some loot sucka!
Still, even with that said, horror also had a decent presence at the box office this year too and while we're not talking top of the box office numbers, we are looking at how much money some of these films brought in. A movie can pull in $40 million and look like a near flop, but if the budget is only $15 to $20 million, well, you can call that a minor success. This is that case with most of the horror genre as is the case with many of the releases I am going over here today. These are the movies that made some bank, whether it be a whole lot, or just enough to keep some dignity and presence. *Note all these figures are time sensitive and as updated as I freaking feel like, okay?! Oh, and they're domestic. Oh-oh, and fahkin Avatar makes all this just that much more difficult*
I'd be iniquitous if I didn't start at one of the highest grossing films of the year...and since I have never seen any of these films, I won't waste anytime taking unfair shots at them, but they are a part of the horror genre (maybe not yours or mine), whether some would like to admit it or not. The 4th highest grossing horror film of '09 was The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $$280,924,000 and still going. No real surprise and with figures like that, no need to even bother comparing them to the budget - these films make bank and bubblegum that you can buy at FYE.
Now while New Moon was the highest grossing horror release of the year, the most successful film of the year, period, was Paranormal Activity, which came in at number 27 with a whopping $107,735,000. Compare that number to a budget of $15 thousand and you have the second coming of Blair Witch. This would be the best thing for horror in many ways and the worst thing too. These numbers really show what can be done with some drive and passion, but the imitations are sure to come, with plenty of Hollywood bullery (is that a word?) putting in their two unnecessary cents. However, Paranormal Activity being more than a few years old is from the Blair Witch influence if you ask me, as well as Cloverfield, [REC], and all the other handy cam films of late, so I think Blair Witch's shadow is long looming and maybe imitation isn't such a bad thing after all.
In what was a bit of a surprise, Zombieland landed at the number 38 spot with $75,590,286. Compared to a $23.6 million dollar budget, the film was very successful, in a time when most people are so tired of Zombie films - especially ones going the comedic route. I liked the film and am very happy that it did well - in fact, it did well enough that a sequel is already in the works. Zombieland barely nudged out the 39th most highest grossing film of the year, which was Coraline and its gross of $75,286,229. Not really a horror movie you say? Well, it isn't, but it comes pretty darned close and Coraline was one of the darkest children's animation films I have seen in quite some time. Unfortunately, the numbers for the film aren't so good when compared to its $60 million dollar budget, but it did okay at least.
The Final Destination flew in and landed at number 46 with $66,477,700 and with a budget of $40 million; this is a franchise that has really showed up with every release. What's more impressive, is this came out directly against Zombie's H2 and completely slaughtered it at the box office, which if you've seen H2, it shouldn't be a surprise. At 49, every ones favorite remake, Friday the 13th slashed it's way in with $65,002,019 against a $19 million dollar budget. More than enough to reignite the franchise, which received very mixed reviews from horror fans. I personally liked it...enough.
All right, I'm gonna speed this up - things are getting repetitive and you probably aren't even reading anymore...and if you aren't, then I'm taking you off my booty call list. Maybe. Alrighty, The Haunting in Connecticut with $55,389,516 came in at 55 overall, but no clue what the budget was since it's not available anywhere. Strange?! A nice surprise was My Bloody Valentine 3-D doing $51,545,952 to its budget of $15 million and taking the 59 spot. Even with a hottie swap, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans took the 63rd place with an okay $45,802,315 compared to $35 mil budget. While The Unborn only did decent numbers wise with $42,670,410, in comparison to its $16 million budget, it actually did pretty darned good and took the 66th spot.
And finally, capping things off at the lower end of success, the 67 and 69 (Dude!) spots were filled by fan favorites Drag Me to Hell with $42,100,625 against a $30 million budget and Orphan with $41,596,251. No budget available for Orphan either, but I cannot imagine it costing more than $30 million. Considering that Drag Me to Hell was out of theaters faster than you can say, "This isn't Spider Man" it actually did quite well. Imagine if it had just a few more weeks... Orphan, on the other hand, was near death its entire run, but had a bit of staying power with positive word of mouth and steady numbers, which were just enough to keep it afloat.
So, there you have it, the year in horror from a theatrical standpoint. By the numbers there are seven original films, three sequels, and only two remakes in this batch, so that shows some progress towards seeing some original genre releases in theaters. I personally saw six of these films and liked all six, so I am batting a 1000 in that department and that is a testament that all hope will never be lost, no matter how powerful the fad. Hopefully 2010 will bring even better horror films for us to go and spend way too much money on and right off the bat we are getting Case 39 on January 1st, followed by Daybreakers on the 8th and Legion on the 22nd (though I doubt that will go wide, unlike your mom). Not a bad way to start the New Year at all. Of course, I would love to hear your take on the 2009 year in horror and whether or not you were satisfied by what was to be seen in theaters. That is if you read this far - if you did, then thank you for being a freind!