Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
October 8, 2014
Kim Hollis: Annabelle, an R-rated prequel to the previous horror hit The Conjuring, earned $37.1 million this weekend. How did New Line/Warner Bros. achieve such an impressive result?
Felix Quinonez: I think Anabelle's success can be attributed, at least partially, to the fact that people love horror movies in the month of October and the studio didn't waste any time to take advantage of that. Also, The Conjuring seems to be one of the better liked horror movies in recent memory and the ads for Anabelle made the connection very clear.
Matthew Huntley: That's a very good question, because although The Conjuring was well-received by critics and audiences alike, I didn't think a prequel (as opposed to a sequel) would open nearly as well. I assumed Annabelle would suffer the same fate as Blair Witch 2, i.e. be viewed as a blatant attempt by the studio to cash in on a surprise hit. Clearly, this wasn't the case, and I think some of its success is owed to the TV spots, which show people in the theater gasping and screaming at the screen, a tactic that's been used many times over but that consistently seems to do the trick. The nearness to Halloween didn't hurt, either. I don't think this movie will have legs and it'll be all but gone by the end of the month, but it guarantees another Conjuring movie in the future.
Edwin Davies: I would put this largely, if not solely, down to the connection to The Conjuring. The marketing for the film was effectively creepy, but the key thing about it was that it kept hammering home the connection to a film that was a huge hit last year, and that connection clearly resonated with people who enjoyed James Wan's film and decided that they wanted to spend more time with that horrifying doll. The dearth of decent horror options almost certainly played a part in that as well, so there was probably a lot of pent up demand for a straightforward spooky film. If you discount The Purge: Anarchy, which is more of an action-thriller, Annabelle is already the highest grossing horror film of the year [insert Planes: Fire & Rescue or Blended joke here], which demonstrates what a terrible year 2014 has been for the genre.
Jason Barney: I think much of this success has to do with the goodwill left over from The Conjuring. Like the number one film for the weekend, this is a stellar opening that was unexpectedly strong. Regardless of the budget and whatever the marketing costs were, in every possible financial scenario Annabelle is going to be making money very quickly. The $37 million opening is really great, and I wonder if with the leaves turning, temperatures falling, and the approach of Halloween.... if it doesn't suffer the traditionally awful weekend #2 drop for horror films. Most suffer drops of well over 60%. If the hold is anywhere decent, there is a chance Annabelle could approach $100 million. That is likely a little high, but this opening is golden for everyone involved.