New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures took a gamble, rolled the dice, and tossed out a horror movie mid-summer. Typically, the house wins on that bet, but not this summer.
James Wan’s The Conjuring (read our review) was a massive hit — and not just hit, but a hugely, successful, monstrous hit.
Wan, who has said he’s retired from horror (for now), is exiting on top. Beyond The Conjuring, Wan (and his writing partner Leigh Whannell) are responsible for both the Saw and Insidious franchises. Not too shabby.
But looking at The Conjuring‘s box office breakdown, you have to wonder/hope that Warners and New Line re-release the Amityville Horror-inspired haunter for the Halloween season. Why? Well, it’s only $3M from topping the 1999 The Blair Witch Project as the fourth highest grossing supernatural horror movie of all-time (domestically)!
To put its $137M in perspective, the 2002 The Ring was highly considered one of the biggest horror films in the past decade – and that “only” took in $129M domestically. How does Paranormal Activity stand up next to Conjuring? PA made $107M, which is huge considering any horror film topping $100M is a big deal.
BUT $137M? WOW. While biting at the ankles of Blair Witch, Conjuring is currently behind What Lies Beneath ($155M), The Exorcist ($232M) and The Sixth Sense ($293M), not taking inflation into account.
It gets a bit more insane when you look at the international numbers, which put The Conjuring on the cusp on $300M. When comparing to the aforementioned films, The Conjuring is now the third highest grossing supernatural horror film ever, only behind The Exorcist and The Sixth Sense.
While I think people understand that Wan’s film was a success, I don’t think people truly understand just how enormous it was. The big lesson is that horror can work in the summer. The bigger lesson is that – take it from Jason Voorhees – horror lives, and won’t ever die.