Lights Out and other cheaply made horror films continue to be favorites of major studios in spite of the fact that they seldom spend longer than one week at the top of the box office charts.
In the case of the new horror-thriller, which was based on a short film, it never even reached number one. However, when produced for under $5 million ($4.9 million is the reported total, according to Box Office Mojo), there is a very low barrier to success.
For Lights Out, that success was achieved in week one when the film grossed more than $20 million domestically.
It has since continued to play strongly in spite of the fact that it has been beaten out in gross terms by bigger-budgeted films.
No matter, though. As Star Trek Beyond and Ghostbusters struggle to make up their nine-figure budgets, Lights Out has turned a 900 percent profit as of Friday, July 29’s numbers.
The box office for Lights Out has surged past $40 million and now sits at $44.107 million, which works out to more than nine times what the film cost to produce.
In addition to all but ensuring a sequel, the performance puts Lights Out into the heralded halls of new century horror like The Purge series (now up to three films — the original, Anarchy, and Election Year).
With The Purge: Election Year, the worldwide total climbed to just north of $90 million before it finally ran out of gas (also a 900 percent gain on the budget).
Unlike that previous film, Lights Out still has room to grow with strong daily performances and a place in the middle of the top 10 with continuing projections for the same this weekend.
No, it will not gross as much as The Purge:Election Year, but it’s right on par with expectations, and as long as the studio doesn’t needlessly up the budget, Lights Out movies could be around for some time to come.
Still, not everyone is necessarily happy with how the film turned out.
Nevertheless, a genre that has long been beholden to tired faces like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger could use a little fresh blood, and that’s what they’re getting here, though the actual red stuff isn’t quite as prevalent in this PG-13 affair.
It’s a departure for Lights Out champion James Wan, too. While Wan has graduated to blockbusters like the Fast and Furious series, as well as the DC Extended Movie Universe, he still has a soft spot for horror as evidenced in his Insidious, Saw, and The Conjuring series as well as — to a lesser degree — Dead Silence.
Dead Silence is the one horror film he’s had a hand in that never received sequels.
While there is still time for that to happen, it is far more likely that studios will want to reinvest in films with proven profit centers like The Purge and Lights Out.
But what do you think, readers?
Was Lights Out worthy of a part two, and which horror movies out there that haven’t gotten sequels yet would you like to see turn up in a cineplex in the near future? Sound off in the comments section below.