Horror film MALIGNANT is now less than two weeks away from release, and throughout its run on The Quorum, the numbers have been surprisingly soft. We say “surprisingly” because the film is directed by James Wan, who has generated over $1.1B at the box office as a director.
Wan was at the helm for the blockbusters AQUAMAN and FURIOUS 7, but before that, he was a dominant figure in the horror resurgence of the past 20 years. He directed three landmark horror films, including SAW, INSIDIOUS, and THE CONJURING. So, MALIGNANT can be seen as a return to his roots.
With that in mind, we would expect the tracking numbers to be higher. And yet, with time running out, awareness for the film has yet to crack 20.
To give this some context, we plotted the ten most recent horror movies with opening weekend along the x-axis and awareness-at-opening along the y-axis. Across these 10 horror films, there is an 85% correlation between the two metrics.
At the moment, awareness for MALIGNANT is at 18. It still has another two weeks for that number to rise. But, if it were to open with that same awareness, we’d be looking at a sub-$5M debut. Awareness for THE NIGHT HOUSE was at 18 upon release, and it opened to $3M.
For MALIGNANT to open in the range of $10M, awareness would have to climb to the high-20s or low-30s. If it hopes to open to $15M, it should shoot for awareness at or above 35. There’s certanly time, but it better puck up the pace.