Only for training and leisure worth, I needed to determine simply which of the long-lasting horror film slashers was probably the most worthwhile. By that I imply, which horror film franchise predicated on a particular cinematic boogieman (sorry Conjuring) was probably the most bankable by way of “finances versus world gross” fee of return (with numbers courtesy of The Numbers and Field Workplace Mojo). This was barely extra difficult than anticipated because of the sheer variety of iconic slasher properties had gotten a shiny remake during the last 17 years (Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath kicked off the pattern on October 17, 2003) and/or a contemporary “legacy sequel.”
There have been judgment calls made as to what constituted a horror film slasher (neither the satan nor unseen spirits depend, so sorry Last Vacation spot, Omen, Exorcist or Paranormal Exercise) because the most worthwhile boogie man is, effectively, no spoilers, however you’ll see. Anyway, I attempted to be as thorough as potential, even when none of this accounts for inflation or expanded world marketplaces, each of which helped make Paranormal Exercise maybe probably the most worthwhile ongoing Hollywood franchise ever, incomes a mean of 31.3x its finances for every of the six motion pictures. No surprise Paramount is releasing one other one in March of 2022.
Oh, and this solely applies to horror franchises that had not less than three theatrical entries, in order that’s why It and (for now) Candyman are lacking in motion. Sure, this complete rating may need been barely totally different if sure horror sequels (Spiral, Halloween Kills, Candyman, and so forth.) had been launched as initially meant in 2020. And sure, typically the remakes or legacy sequels makes a franchise extra “fee of return” worthwhile, however usually occasions the overbudgeted remakes drag the averages down. Now, with out additional ado..!
Chucky (six motion pictures/2.64x)
$217.1 million on an $82 million finances
The Little one’s Play collection is exclusive in that it considerations a single onscreen killer (Chucky the killer doll) performed by the identical actor (Brad Durif) in a collection of movies (together with two, Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, that went to VOD) all overseen by a single auteur (Don Mancini). Clearly, these variables don’t apply to the latest and surprisingly good remake (whereby Chucky was voiced by Mark Hamill), however I digress.
Little one’s Play, which performs extra like an enormous metropolis motion film than a slasher film, was one of many few occasions when filmmakers knowingly meant to create a brand new onscreen boogie man akin to Freddy or Jason and really pulled it off. Little one’s Play 2 ($34.1 million on a $13 million finances in 1990) and Little one’s Play 3 ($19.85 million/$13 million in 1991) are extra standard slasher flicks, whereas Ronny Yu’s campy and unbelievable Bride of Chucky ($50.7 million/$25 million in 1998) was clearly a take a look at run for his Freddy Vs. Jason. Seed of Chucky bombed in 2004 ($24.7 million on a $12 million finances), and that was it for the old-school Chucky collection in theaters till final 12 months’s remake.
Oddly sufficient, because it earned $43.5 million on a $10 million finances (the most cost effective entry because the unique in 1988), its inclusion really boosts the franchise’s rate-of-return. The six theatrical Chucky flicks have earned 2.64x their mixed finances with the remake however simply 2.4x when solely counting the 5 in-continuity theatricals. I don’t know whether or not MGM even could make a sequel to their remake (that they had the rights to the primary movie since MGM distributed the unique whereas Common dealt with the others), however I wouldn’t be shocked to see them strive. As for unique recipe Chucky, he’s heading to TV courtesy of Mancini’s SyFy and USA Community episodic launching in 2021.
Pinhead (4 motion pictures/3.4x)
$48 million on a $14 million finances
Solely the primary 4 of the ten Pinhead-and-friends horror fantasies performed theatrically, and truthfully solely the primary Clive Barker adaptation is what I’d thought-about a blow-out win. The 1987 gross-out basic earned $14.575 million on a $14 million finances, whereas Hellbound (which I really want to the unique attributable to its actually bonkers imagery) earned $11.6 million on a $6 million finances in 1988. Hell on Earth, which to be sincere I’ve by no means really seen, earned a strong $12.5 million on a $3 million finances in 1992 whereas Bloodline was launched in early 1996 and earned $9.32 million on a $4 million finances.
We had 5 straight-to-DVD or VOD titles between 2000 (beginning with Scott Derrickson’s Inferno) and 2011 earlier than getting another in 2018. That is a type of properties the place a reboot, remake, sequel or TV present is all the time in some type of improvement. As we communicate, there’s a TV present adaptation of Barker’s unique quick story (“The Hellbound Coronary heart”) in improvement at HBO Max with David Gordon Inexperienced connected to direct the pilot. We’ll see if the franchise ever evolves past its present straight-to-VOD purgatory. Within the phrases of Yo Gabba Gabba, hold attempting, hold attempting, don’t quit, don’t quit!
Hannibal Lector (5 motion pictures/3.686)
$921.5 million on a $235 million finances
Okay, so Dr. Hannibal Lector isn’t a stereotypical slasher villain. He doesn’t kill anybody in both adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Pink Dragon, he’s the secondary villain in Silence of the Lambs and he’s the anti-hero in Hannibal Rising (a horrible prequel which justifiably bombed with $80.5 million on a $50 million finances in 2007). All due respect to Michael Mann’s ahead-of-its-time Manhunter (a free adaptation of Pink Dragon which grossed simply $8.62 million on a $15 million finances), the movie franchise remained solely bankable when Anthony Hopkins was enjoying the larger-than-life cannibal.
Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, nonetheless one of many very best mainstream American motion pictures ever made, kicked off a wave of big-budget horror motion pictures for adults. It earned 5 Oscars and $275.7 million worldwide in 1991 on a $20 million finances. Hannibal, opening ten years later to the weekend, scored on the time the third-biggest opening weekend ever with $58 million. Ridley Scott’s divisive adaptation of Harris’ self-satirical sequel, which noticed Julianne Moore changing Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, nonetheless earned $350 million worldwide on an $87 million finances.
Brett Ratner directed a extra devoted adaptation of Pink Dragon that might extra coherently function as a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, with Hopkins again in his star-making position. The easy and well-acted thriller earned $206 million on a $78 million finances in late 2002. Since then, Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal ran for 3 low-rated however critically-acclaimed season on NBC and have become an prompt cult basic. Since Lector is likely one of the most well-known and recognizable horror film baddies of all time, I needed to embody him.
Freddy Krueger (9 motion pictures/4.16x)
$457 million on a $110 million finances
Why so low? Properly, making fantastical horror motion pictures which partially happen inside the desires of Freddy’s victims is dearer than Jason killing teenagers in a forest. The much-loathed remake price about nearly as a lot ($35 million) as the primary six motion pictures mixed ($41.8 million) and but solely earned 3.3x ($118 million) its finances. Furthermore, not sufficient of you people noticed Wes Craven’s dynamite New Nightmare ($18 million on an $8 million finances) in theaters. Though because it opened towards Pulp Fiction, I can’t be too judgmental.
Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Road earned $25.5 million in 1984 on a $1.8 million finances, giving New Line Cinema a monster hit at simply the suitable time, which is why New Line is usually referred to as “the Home that Freddy Constructed.” Freddy’s Revenge, with its uncommon male protagonist and non-too-subtle homosexual subtexts, earned $29.9 million on a $3 million finances in 1985. The Dream Warriors was a breakout sequel and it turned Freddy right into a popular culture icon. It will earn $44.8 million home on a $5 million finances in 1987.
The Dream Warriors would earn $49.3 million on a $13 million finances in 1988. The Dream Little one would cut back Freddy’s MTV-friendly wit. The darker sequel earned $22.1 million in 1989 on a $8 million finances. Freddy’s Lifeless introduced again the camp and promised that Kruger could be killed for good (in 3-D). Cue a $35 million cume on an $11 million finances. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare would rejoice Freddy’s tenth anniversary with the meta “horror film for adults.” Freddy Vs. Jason grossed $114.5 million on a $25 million finances and marked Robert England’s closing movie efficiency as maybe the most well-liked horror film slasher villain of all time.
Leatherface (eight motion pictures/4.26x)
$246.6 million on a $49.5 million finances
Now we have had 4 straight-up entries within the Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath collection. We’ve then had remake in 2003 and a prequel to that remake in 2006. We had one other mushy reboot (Texas Chainsaw 3-D in 2013) that served as a continuation from the primary movie sans the earlier sequels. There was a barely-seen prequel to the unique (Leatherface in 2017, to not be confused with 1990’s Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath 3) and there’s one other sequel to the primary movie within the works. Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath goes to have extra “half two” installments than Halloween.
Sure, this can all be on the take a look at. Evidently, the prequel/legacy sequel schtick hasn’t labored out as effectively for Leatherface because it has for Michael Myers. Private preferences apart (I actually like Texas Chainsaw: The Starting, the prequel to the 2003 remake), it’s an eight-movie-and-counting franchise the place the primary installment is the one one everyone (largely) likes. It’s the Highlander of slasher franchises.
I couldn’t get viable finances data for 3 out of eight of those motion pictures, all I’m going to say is that A) this collection is a large number by way of “Select Your Personal Journey” continuity and B) the one motive the Leatherface motion pictures are even within the working is as a result of the 2003 Platinum Dunes remake earned $109 million on a $9 million finances. Tobe Hopper’s 1974 basic earned $26.572 million on a $140,000 finances (189x) whereas the franchise total has earned (free guestimate) 4.26x its finances or 2.5x with out the 2 Platinum Dunes flicks. That ought to inform you one thing concerning the total profitability of this franchise.
Ghostface (4 motion pictures/5x)
$603.2 million on a $119 million finances
Ah, no remakes, no reboots and the controversial legacy sequel bombed! Simply 4 Wes Craven-directed slasher epics that stood out for his or her self-aware commentary (each by way of slasher film tropes and gender-related politics) and relatively large budgets. Although Scream 3 and Scream 4 each price $40 million in 2000 and 2011, Scream 2, which price $24 million in 1997, nonetheless seems like the largest and most “epic” slasher film ever made. The movies earned $173 million on a $15 million finances in 1996, $172 million/$24 million finances in 1997, $162 million/$40 million in 2000 and $96 million/$40 million in 2011.
Scream 4 nonetheless stinks (I rewatched it a few weeks in the past), obsessed as it’s with referencing the primary film, poking holes at its inventive relevance and unwilling to actually acknowledge how the horror style had modified since 2000. It’s higher (and way more grotesque) than Scream 3 (which was closely neutered after the Columbine shootings) and its “legacy sequel” tropes, together with an emphasis on generational trauma and on-line celeb, would play higher right this moment. I wouldn’t be shocked if Scream 5, coming in early 2022, performs higher because of nostalgia from a era that grew up pondering Scream 4 was good.
David Arquette’s Sheriff Dewey, Courtney Cox’s Gale Winters and particularly Neve Campbell’s Sydney Prescott have change into generational icons as cinematic odes to perseverance and dealing with unthinkable trauma. That’s good in that they’re marquee characters so Scream 5 received’t simply be a matter of “Hey, another person is killing folks carrying the Ghostface costume!”). Nonetheless, you in all probability can’t kill them off anytime quickly. Merciless irony that followers reacted so poorly to Randy being murdered in Scream 2 whereas Hollywood used Scream 3’s terrible “I’m your secret relative and the writer of all of your ache” reveal the idea for contemporary franchise-building in every part from 007 to Star Wars.
Jason Vororhees (12 motion pictures/5.9x)
$466 million worldwide on a $79 million finances
Okay, this one isn’t fairly as difficult as Texas Chainsaw. Freddy Vs. Jason is certainly a direct sequel to each the Friday the thirteenth motion pictures and the Nightmare On Elm Road flicks, so you’ll be able to acknowledge that the entire “large finances” gloss ($25 million) and nostalgia issue (the showdown followers have been ready for since they have been youngsters) goosed the grosses ($114.5 million in 2003) whereas nonetheless counting it for each respective franchises. The remake earned $92.67 million in 2009, which really dragged the general revenue margins down for the franchise. The primary entry price $550,000 in 1980, the eighth film (taking Manhattan is dear) costing $5 million in 1989 and the tenth film (sending Jason to house can be dear) costing $14 million in 2002.
In any other case, the traditional sequels price $1.25 million-$3 million. Friday the thirteenth earned $59 million in 1980, which was the biggest-grossing slasher film ever till Wes Craven’s Scream in 1996. Many of the sequels earned $15-$22 million, with Friday the thirteenth 3D incomes $36.6 million in 1983 and The Last Chapter incomes $32.98 million in 1984. As you’ll be able to see, the franchise could be very a lot “small threat/small reward,” which is sensible since they principally haven’t any story, happen in a single forest locale and exist fully for the periodic quick-n-mean homicide sequences (and periodic nudity).
Friday the thirteenth is the 80’s slasher boiled right down to its core necessities. Count on for Jason Lives, which is inexplicably humorous and self-critiquing in a means that blew my thoughts as a child. All advised, the 12 motion pictures have earned $466.2 million worldwide on a $78.65 million finances, giving it a mean fee of return of 5.9x. Sans the remake, it goes as much as 6x and sans each the remake and Freddy Vs. Jason (4.58x its finances) it goes as much as 7x. If the franchise ever makes it out of court docket, we could but get extra “Jason kills sexy camp counselors” adventures in theaters or on Paramount+ within the close to future.
Michael Myers (12 motion pictures/6.6x)
$619 million worldwide on a mixed $93.3 million finances
I might have executed an entire submit simply on how complicated it was to piece collectively “truthful” totals and revenue margins for the Michael Myers collection. Will we depend all 12 motion pictures? Will we not depend Season of the Witch? Will we not depend the Rob Zombie’s Halloween ($77 million in 2007 on a $15 million finances) and Halloween II ($39 million/$15 million in 2009)? Right here’s the rub: In case you don’t depend Jigsaw/John Kramer as a film slasher, maybe as a result of he merely units traps that permit people to kill themselves deliberately or by accident, Michael Myers is probably the most worthwhile horror film slasher villain.
Nonetheless, his standing as the highest old-school 1970’s/1980’s film monster is fully predicated on Blumhouse’s 2018 Halloween, a legacy sequel that performed big into generational nostalgia and earned $256 million worldwide on a $10 million finances. Absent that film, Michael’s common is simply 4.34x ($363.2 million on a mixed $83.325 million finances), effectively beneath a number of different entries on this checklist. For that matter, eradicating the Zombie-directed flicks offers the collection a a lot greater 7.9x common fee of return over ten motion pictures. The primary Halloween earned $70 million on a $325,000 finances (215x) whereas the following 5 sequels earned $84.337 million on a $17 million finances (4.9x).
Absent the nostalgia-tinged or curiosity-inspired Halloween H20 ($55 million/$17 million in 1998), Halloween ($77.5 million/$15 million in 2007) and Halloween H40 ($255 million/$10 million in 2018), the collection because it existed wouldn’t be wherever close to as “large” because it at present is. Followers need “Michael Myers versus Laurie Strode” tales extra than simply “Oh, it’s a Halloween sequel” flicks. If Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends each earn round $150 million (an inexpensive and accounted-for downturn), it’ll push the franchise’s whole to $919 million on a mixed finances of round $120 (presuming $25 million for the following two movies), giving it an all-in fee of return of seven.6x.
Jigsaw (eight motion pictures/13.1x)
$982.4 million worldwide on a mixed $75 million finances
The eight Noticed motion pictures up to now, clearly not but counting the Chris Rock-produced revamp/sequel Spiral: From the Ebook of Noticed (moved from this previous Could to Could 2021), have earned $982.362 million worldwide on a mixed $75 million finances. James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s unique Noticed broke out on the 2004 Sundance Movie Competition and earned $103.88 million on a $1.2 million finances. Lionsgate and Twisted Photos provided seven straight Noticed motion pictures over seven consecutive Halloween seasons, making it a “If it’s Halloween, it should be Noticed!” custom from 2004 to 2010.
The franchise has been anchored, even in dying, by a single iconic onscreen mass assassin. On this case, it’s Tobin Bell’s John Kramer, an architect who spent his final days earlier than succumbing to most cancers concocting Rube Goldberg-ish traps which (theoretically) provided a path to survival through self-mutilation or associated sacrifice. Noticed II, which set the template for the franchise (assume Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan following Star Trek: The Movement Image) price $5 million and solely one of many sequels (the 3-D and considerably extra elaborate would-be finale Noticed: The Last Chapter) price greater than $11 million. Even Jigsaw, a mushy reboot/sequel opening in 2017, price simply $10 million.
Kramer, or Jigsaw, turned the defining horror film boogie man of the 2000’s, serving to (together with Flawed Flip and Hostel) to kick off a brand new wave of gnarly and grotesque grindhouse horror motion pictures positioned as responses to America’s post-9/11 savagery. Because the subsequent wave in horror (additionally aided by James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s Insidious in 2011) largely targeted on discovered footage spirits (Paranormal Exercise) and otherworldly ghost tales (James Wan’s The Conjuring), you may make the case that Jigsaw was the final “new” (sorry Pennywise) onscreen boogie man of his type.