Written by J. Weagle
2016 has been a crowning year for horror films at the box office, especially the summer months a time typical reserved for big budget superhero movies and glossy action. For the most part those bigger films failed to live up to box office potential either missing their predictions or flat out bombing.
Horror on the other hand has done phenomenal, with every film over the past three months making bank and proving that quality equals dollars. You could say it started in early June with the highly anticipated The Conjuring 2, the sequel to the massively successful original. That film did not disappoint in terms of critique reviews and bringing in the the crowds as it pulled in over forty million on opening weekend alone.
The next big one on the list was the Blake Lively versus angry shark flick The Shallows which made waves at the tail end of June. I personally thought the film was a lot of fun (review) if not a little ridiculous. Apparently the masses enjoyed it as well as the low budget movie brought in seventeen million on opening weekend, which may not sound like a huge amount but considering the budget and premise it’s actually quite good. It probably help however that the film was smartly released during Discovery channels annual Shark Week a time when the fear of sharks is at its highest.
Kicking off July with a murderous bang we saw The Purge: Election Year, the third instalment in the now mega popular horror franchise that began three years ago. Once again some of the success of this has to fall back on the release date because it is no coincidence that a movie parodying the America’s violent crimes and corrupt politicians was released just in time for Independence Day. Capitalizing on this The Purge managed to be one of the biggest success stories of the years bringing in an impressive thirty-two million on opening weekend.
Next up was the film based off a two minute short film titled Lights Out. Unlike the previous films this one had no great marketing timing to go with it and still brought in over twenty million on opening weekend thanks to some spooky trailers and an interesting premise.
The final big film to send summer off with a bang was Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe (review). This terrific home invasion thriller brought in over twenty million opening week and received praise from critics all over setting Alvarez up as perhaps horrors next big thing.
It’s not only great that these films did fantastic at the box office, it is also how different film is from one another. Typically it’s a certain sub genre that takes over a year, but in the case of the films released this summer it looks as though creativity will pull in an audience. From a haunting film about evil nuns, to a shark movie and all the way to home invasion these films don’t feel like copycats of each other which is good for horror and for us.
There is no doubt horror had a resurgence this summer. They say that horror films are a reaction to what is happening in the real world and when things are getting tough horror films tend to thrive. All one has to do is take a look at the recent tragedies that have happened this year around the globe, as well as the American Presidential race and it all comes together. Horror films typical help people get through tough times and that is exactly what they did this summer.