Box Office Strong Over Post-Easter Weekend
By John Hamann
April 7, 2013
This weekend may not have been Easter, but the dead are still rising at the box office. Returning from the afterlife are Evil Dead, Jurassic Park, and The Croods.
After a frame last weekend punctuated by G.I. Joe and Tyler Perry, this weekend we do the time warp, as new releases include the remake of the 1981 horror classic The Evil Dead and the 3D release of 1993’s Jurassic Park. Normally, I cringe at these sorts of weekends, as Hollywood has nothing really new for us this weekend, only repeats of what we’ve already seen. Things are different with this version of the Evil Dead, as Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are producing this one, and Raimi hand-picked director Fede Alvarez to direct (too bad Raimi couldn’t get Joel Coen to edit this one as well). On the other hand, Jurassic Park is back in 3D, and really only serves to revive interest in the franchise, so that Jurassic Park IV can open better than the $50 million that Jurassic Park III did in 2001. At best it’s an advertisement, but kids still like dinosaurs, so here we go again.
Our number one film of the weekend is the 2013 version of Evil Dead (somewhere in the last 32 years we lost the "The"). The remake, from Sony/TriStar, FilmDistrict, and Raimi’s Ghost House, got started on Thursday night, earning $1.8 million. While not a breakout midnight showing, it did set the tone for the weekend, as with that score we knew Evil Dead was going to be a hit of some sort, it was just a matter of how big. The Friday number was reported at $11.9 million; however, we need to take the $1.8 million from Thursday out of that, to get a true Friday number of $10.1 million. That’s less than, say, the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), as that one opened to $15.7 million on its first Friday, with $1.6 million coming from midnight screenings. Still, without a strong central character like Freddy Kreuger, Evil Dead had to work harder, and that it did.
The studios involved with Evil Dead worked extremely hard on the marketing. Serving up Bruce Campbell during the season finale of The Walking Dead was perfect, as he appeared with Fede Alvarez to ensure fans he was behind the remake. Moves like this one worked, as they were paired with some solid reviews (it currently has a fresh rating of 64%), and a sizzling ad campaign. Horror fans were chainsawing in anticipation (hopefully no hands were lost).
In the end, the 2013 version of Evil Dead earned a strong $26 million from 3,025 venues, giving the film a venue average of $8,595. It had a weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 2.18, which is pretty typical for a horror flick. The remake of Nightmare on Elm Street came in at about 2.2, so you can see that Evil Dead had about the same momentum through the weekend. The open finishes just a bit under what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake did in 2003, as that one turned a $10.6 million Friday into a $28.1 million opening. This Evil Dead cost only $17 million, a little more than the $400,000 these same producers spent in 1981. The original earned eight times its production budget worldwide, and there’s no reason to think the remake won’t do the same.