We all know there is a seasonality to the box office. Genres can thrive in some months and completely strike out in others. Case in point: horror films. Over the past ten years, November has been a dead zone for the genre. Only two films have debuted above $10M, and none has opened above $15M.
That’s not entirely surprising, given how horror is such a natural fit for October. By the time November rolls around, audiences are likely experiencing fright fatigue. It also stands to reason that if the film were good enough, it would have opened before Halloween to take advantage of the natural tie-ins. A November opening suggests the film isn’t good enough to compete in October.
Now we have THANKSGIVING, which, naturally, is opening during Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a bit of a no-brainer—why would it NOT open on Thanksgiving? Many of us wondered why Universal opened EASTER SUNDAY in August. Sony’s not making that mistake with this one.
But what do you do when a title practically begs for a date that’s not historically conducive to success? You put forth the best campaign you can and hope for the best. With that said, can THANKSGIVING succeed where others haven’t?
Let’s look at the numbers. We are comparing THANKSGIVING to three other horror originals: THE BLACK PHONE ($24M), SMILE ($23M) and THE INVITATION ($7M).
Awareness for THANKSGIVING (dark yellow) sits at 20%, which is in line with THE INVITATION (beige) but below the other two films. To its credit, awareness has been steadily climbing for THANKSGIVING, so it could quickly join the other two in the top tier.
It’s on the interest side where THANKSGIVING (dark blue) is struggling. At 39%, it is the lowest of the comps.
It’s important to note, however, that tracking is not just about where a film is today. It’s also about where it needs to be in the end. Interest for SMILE (light blue) and PHONE (black) were above 50% by opening. THE INVITATION (teal) topped out in the mid-40s. If Sony leads THANKSGIVING to a strong close with interest near 50%, it could be the first horror film in over a decade to open above $15M in November. As of now, though, it’s not quite there.