‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Sets Multiple Box Office Records With $78 Million Opening

Freddy Fazbear and his creepy animatronic buddies are lighting up the box office, as Universal/Blumhouse’s “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is setting multiple industry records with its $78 million domestic/$130 million global opening weekend.

Not only is it more than double the highest opening seen on Halloween weekend and the largest opening for a film releasing day-and-date on home platforms, but it has also topped the 2018 revival of “Halloween” to become the best opening ever for Blumhouse.

While its numbers aren’t as high as “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “Barbie,” or “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is enjoying the same kind of strong hardcore fan turnout as all three of those 2023 box office hits.

Rather than stay home and watch the movie on Peacock, “Five Nights” fans want to see it together in a packed theater, and social media has been filled with pictures of fans dressing up as characters at the cinema. And while critics have panned the film with a 22% Rotten Tomatoes score and more traditional horror fans have been disappointed, the core fanbase has been raving about it with an A- on CinemaScore.

And that core fanbase is very young, with a whopping 81% of the film’s opening weekend audience being under the age of 25 with 38% being teens. In a year when Gen Z audiences have abandoned older IP films like “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” they have responded this month in huge numbers to titles like “Five Nights” and “The Eras Tour” that were greenlit specifically to target them.

Like “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” “Five Nights at Freddy’s” will likely have a very frontloaded box office run given its availability on streaming and low odds of drawing interest from moviegoers who aren’t fans of the games. But considering the film’s $20 million budget and Blumhouse’s propensity to launch new franchises whenever possible — the studio just announced a sequel to last year’s hit “The Black Phone” — more films with Freddy, Bonnie, Foxy and Chica are likely on the way.

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” has taken second at the box office with a third weekend total of $14.7 million, putting the AMC/Variance-distributed concert film at $149.3 million domestically and $203 million worldwide. Up to this point, “The Eras Tour” has only played on Thursdays through Sundays, but will play on Halloween Tuesday in select theaters.

Paramount/Apple’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is in third with a $9 million second weekend, taking a stiff 61% drop from its $23 million opening weekend.

Whether it is the long runtime or the lack of pull with audiences that Martin Scorsese holds compared to “Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan, early signs are pointing to shorter legs for the acclaimed historical drama with a $200 million-plus production budget as it stands with a $40.6 million domestic total. It won’t be until well into next year that we see whether the film drew enough new subscribers to Apple TV+ for it to have been a financial success for Apple Original Films.

In fourth is Angel Studios’ “After Death” with a $5 million opening weekend. The documentary about near-death experiences is the first theatrical release from the crowdfunding-driven, faith-based distributor since “Sound of Freedom” become one of the most successful indie hits of all time with $239 million worldwide.

Universal/Blumhouse’s “The Exorcist: Believer” completes the Top 5 with $3.1 million in its fourth weekend, giving it a domestic total of $59.3 million that, in a sign of generational shifts, was eclipsed entirely by the opening weekend of “Five Nights at Freddy’s.”

Finally, Focus Features released Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, grossing $200,000 as it will expand to 60 theaters in 20 cities next weekend.

The dramedy starring Paul Giamatti as a curmudgeonly boarding school teacher who learns to bond with a wayward student over winter break, has been widely praised by critics since its Telluride premiere and holds a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score.

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