Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

April 16, 2014

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Kim Hollis: Oculus, a horror film featuring Dr. Who's Karen Gillan, opened to $12 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?

Edwin Davies: Considering how incredibly cheap it was to make and how esoteric the premise is, this is a very solid result. However, I think within the broader context of the box office this year it could have done a little better. The schedule has been pretty bereft of horror films for the last month or so, and even more so in terms of decent, mainstream horror films. It seemed like a great environment in which to release a horror film that could break out, and this did to an extent, but I guess "ooh, scary mirror!" wasn't compelling enough to draw a big audience. Still, a $12 million opening and a likely $25-30 million finish isn't too shabby.

Jason Barney: This obviously is not the breakout success of the Paranormal Activity films or the Blair Witch Project, but it is a solid, respectable opening. It won't be last year's The Purge. Films from the horror genre generally have a predictable ceiling, and while this is not going to garner a lot of attention, it is not going to lose money. This will fall right into the category of cheap, successful scary movies. It won't be around long, and it is not going to be remembered by many, but it won't lose money.

Bruce Hall: "A low budget horror movie starring nobody in particular that (more than) doubled its production budget in its first week of release, despite less than stellar reviews. It faded out of theaters quickly, but enjoyed a lucrative run on home video."

This is what I predict future people will say of this movie, if they speak of it at all.




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Max Braden: I don't watch Doctor Who (blasphemy, I know), so I wouldn't have been able to identify who Karen Gillan is. My impression of Oculus was that buzz was pretty strong for providing good scares, and its Rotten Tomatoes number exceeds all of the scores for Paranormal Activity's sequels at least. I expected a number above $15 million, but as mentioned, it's a relatively strong opening.

Kim Hollis: Given its fairly unknown cast and limited marketing, I think this result is just fine. I do think that the parity between the critical reviews and the Cinemascore (audience reviews) is interesting and probably means it’s one and done as most horror films are rather than an Insidious/Conjuring-type breakout. I do like that horror films are finally trending away from excessive gore and back to more thoughtful scares myself.

Felix Quinonez: Any time a movie makes more than double its production budget, it's gotta be considered a success. This won't have great legs but even after its marketing budget is included, it will see a profit and we'll continue seeing more low budget horror movies with no name actors and have this same discussion. It's a vicious cycle. Horror movies have a built in audience, don't require big name actors, and are cheaper to make so it's easier to see a profit on them.

David Mumpower: Put me in the hyper-critical category for Oculus. I simply fail to see the greatness of a modest opening weekend for a film with fairly solid leads. Doctor Who has never been hotter, so the Hollywood introduction of Karen Gillan should have led to a better debut for this project. After all, her target audience is exactly the same as the one who keeps the horror genre afloat. Oculus will make money; nobody here questions that. It still feels like a disappointing result to me. The absolutely atrocious Cinemascore also indicates that the franchise potential here is less than I would have expected a week ago.


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