Universal and Blumhouse’s haunted horror film “Five Nights at Freddy’s” looks to make a killing in its box office debut. The video game adaptation is expected to collect at least $50 million over the weekend, but analysts suggest the final number may be higher.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” will open simultaneously on Peacock, which makes it especially impressive that it’s projected to land one of the biggest horror debuts of the year. Right now, the genre’s top debuts of 2023 belong to “Scream VI” ($44.4 million), “The Nun II” ($32 million), “M3GAN” ($30 million) and “The Exorcist: Believer” ($26.4 million).
Other than “Five Night at Freddy’s,” studios seem to be returning back to exclusive theatrical windows because it’s proven to be more profitable than hybrid releases. Although, its $20 million production budget means “Five Nights at Freddy’s” doesn’t have to clear a high bar to get into the black.
Peacock doesn’t have as many subscribers as Disney+ or Netflix, but the day-and-date debut of “Five Nights” could result in a short-lived box office bump. This was the case with Universal’s 2022 slasher sequel “Halloween Ends,” which launched with a sizable $40 million while landing concurrently on Peacock. But ticket sales fell off a cliff in subsequent weeks and tapped out with just $64 million in North America and $104 million globally. Its predecessor, 2021’s “Halloween Kills,” launched with $49 million (with a simultaneous streaming release), though the film still managed to amass $92 million domestically and $133 million worldwide. However, neither sequel lived up to the first “Halloween” reboot in 2018, which played only in theaters. The Jamie Lee Curtis-led thriller slashed expectations with $76 million to start and ended its run with $159 million in North America and $259 million globally.
Without much competition to scare off, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” will easily lead on domestic charts and provide a needed jolt to the fall box office. It’s been a quiet October other than Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” and Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which will vie for second place. “The Eras Tour” looks to pull ahead with $13 million to $15 million, while “Killers of the Flower Moon” is projected to add $11 million to $13 million over the weekend.
Emma Tammi directed “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” which stars Josh Hutcherson as a security guard who accepts a night-time job at an abandoned Chuck E. Cheese-esque establishment. But family-friendly, it is not. He discovers the animatronic mascots have a sinister side, prompting them to kill anyone who is still there after midnight.