Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
April 22, 2015
Kim Hollis: Unfriended, a Blumhouse horror film that takes place entirely on screens, earned $15.8 million. What do you think of this result?
Matthew Huntley: Just like Paul Blart 2: Mall Cop 2's, this is an impressive opening weekend figure, but even more-so given how cheap it was to make this movie (it reportedly carries a production budget of just $1 million). Unfriended's surprisingly strong reviews and peculiar presentation may even allow it to escape the fate most horror movies face as far as huge weekend drop-offs, but if not, it's already shown a profit and, probably as we speak, a script is being written (or this one's is being copied) for Unfriended 2: [insert cheesy subtitle here]. In fact, the script for the sequel was probably already given the green light as early as Friday night (after the movie's opening day was approximately six times its production cost).
Edwin Davies: This is a significant win for all involved. As Matthew said, the cost for Unfriended was tiny even by horror standards, and even if it cratered and ended up with a terrible 2.0, it'd still make 30 times its budget. This seems to be a combination of a lack of horror films in recent weeks other than It Follows, which is a less mainstream offering; the strong reviews; and the uniqueness of its premise, which would probably have appealed both to young audiences who use Skype and social media to communicate all the time, and to horror fans interested in seeing someone do something interesting with the genre. Whatever the cause, this is another success for Blumhouse, a company which has become incredibly savvy when it comes to turning low-budget horror into significant profits.
Jason Barney: Unfriended could be a horror film with some decent legs, so despite the numbers being CRAZY good already, I think the big story here is what the earning potential of this one is long term. The horror genre is already one that skews younger, but I think as the buzz about this film spreads, the holds are going to be pretty nice. There is something to be said for a horror film that has specifically targeted a social aspect of youngster’s lives. My guess is Unfriended does not suffer through the normal horror drops. It will be substantial, but it won’t be anywhere close to the “bad” horror films which come out all too often.
On this one, you have to give Universal credit. Every studio is willing to invest in cheap horror films these days, and the market gives us one every several weeks. However, you wonder if the genre is changing a bit, and you wonder if more attractive scary stories are on the horizon. I know that sounds totally weird, but with the success of The Purge, The Paranormal Activity series, The Conjuring…you have to wonder if studios are starting to see money growing on trees within the horror genre. How could they not? It Follows was made for $2 million dollars and it has pulled in over $14 million. Unfriended is going to do better than that. It was put together for $1 million, and in its first weekend it has brought in $16 million. Those are outstanding numbers. Studios have to look at some of the marquee franchises like Star Trek, Terminator, Spiderman, etc, and wonder if investing $200 million or more is as smart as investing in smaller projects like Unfriended and It Follows. It sounds crazy, but which was the better investment? The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or Unfriended?