‘M3gan’ is poised for a big year for horror movies at the box office

M3GAN at Universal Studios and Blumhouse transforms lifelike dolls into killers programmed to be a child’s best companion and parent’s best ally.


Fashionable and murderous dolls are hitting the box office.

The latest work “M3gan” from Universal The collaboration between the studio and Blumhouse would eventually exceed $100 million worldwide. It’s the latest success in a string of lucrative theatrical performances in the horror genre.

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Hollywood’s big-budget blockbusters usually get the most attention, but the consistently strong performance of scary movies in theaters is good news for the film industry.

The pandemic has fundamentally changed how and where consumers watch entertainment. Sure, people are back in theaters, but not in the same numbers they were before the pandemic. Domestic box office receipts for him will reach $7.5 billion in 2022 and top $4.58 billion in 2021, down about 34% from 2019.

Movies like “M3gan” add value to the box office as a whole. According to Comscore data, domestic ticket sales for the horror genre were about $700 million in 2022. While the numbers are down from pre-pandemic levels, they show that demand for spooky entertainment remains strong as theater business recovers.

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scare the dollar

“M3gan” producer Blumhouse has revolutionized the horror genre over the past decade, turning tiny-budget movies into huge box office hits. The studio has produced the highly successful and profitable films Paranormal Activity and the Academy Award-winning Get Out.

Released in 2009, Paranormal Activity grossed over $107 million in the US and nearly $200 million worldwide on a budget of just $15,000.

Following that model, the “M3gan” was made for just $12 million and is about to cross the $100 million mark. Already, Universal and Blumhouse have greenlit a sequel due in 2025.

From “M3GAN” by Universal and Blumhouse.


Last year, most widely released horror films had budgets between $16 million and $35 million. The only outlier was Get Out’s Jordan Peele-directed “Nope,” which had a production budget of $68 million. Low-budget movies mean they don’t have to generate blockbuster-sized ticket sales to make a profit. These economics also help make horror movies one of the most consistently performing genres of all time.

Consider, for example, the Canadian experimental horror film Skinamarink. It cost him $15,000 and is still in production. Over $1 million at the box office.

“At the heart of that sustainability is the generational shift in younger audiences that drives many of these films at the box office, and the pre-pandemic constant picks up where it left off when post-pandemic movie-going picked up. It’s reopened,” Robbins said.

Unlike comic book movie fans who can easily be turned off by disingenuous adaptations of their favorite characters, horror fans don’t seem to care if a movie isn’t quite up to par. As long as they have a good scare and are seen as a fun experience, they’ll be back for the next installment.

Moreover, over the last two decades, the quality of the horror genre has improved significantly, mainly with support from indie companies such as A24 and Neon, and distribution from streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Peacock.

“The systematic and gradual improvement in the quality of horror films, once considered a smash-and-grab, run-away-for-the-money, open-Friday-close-Sunday genre, is now the creative powerhouse of great production companies. A great filmmaker has earned the respect of both critics and audiences alike,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore.

For example, “M3gan” currently holds a 95% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The genre and its audience are irreplaceable to the industry’s ecosphere, and a promising 2023 release schedule looks to help maintain that status quo,” said Robbins.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is affiliated with Blumhouse and owns Rotten Tomatoes.

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