‘The Exorcist: Believer’ now faces its biggest foe: Taylor Swift

Scene from the upcoming movie: The Exorcist: Believer.

Universal Studios

“The Exorcist: Believer” possessed the field workplace throughout its opening weekend, however trade specialists surprise if it should proceed to show heads within the weeks to come back.

The Universal and Blumhouse collaboration, the primary of three deliberate movies, tallied $26.5 million throughout its debut, making it the top-grossing movie of the weekend. Yet that haul fell simply shy of the $30 million prediction set by field workplace analysts. With worldwide ticket gross sales, the movie has generated $44 million.

Still, on a manufacturing finances of simply $30 million, “The Exorcist: Believer” might show worthwhile if it continues to lure moviegoers within the coming weeks.

There’s only one complication: Taylor Swift.

“The Exorcist: Believer” fled from its authentic launch date (Oct. 13) as a result of Swift announced her Eras Tour concert film would arrive in cinemas that day. The movie rapidly snared the coveted, increased priced, premium format screens, leaving little room for “The Exorcist: Believer” to eke out a stable opening.

“Moving from Friday the 13th to the 6th was transfer for the reason that inherently sturdy advertising and marketing hook and benefit of getting a horror film opening on this basic day of superstitious significance would’ve doubtless been outweighed by the overwhelming dominance of that Swift movie,” stated Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Representatives for Universal declined to remark.

There was a short notion that the 2 movies might have partnered to develop into “Exorswift,” an opposites entice double function just like the summer season’s “Barbenheimer” (“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”). The potential same-day opening was virtually instantly shut down when “The Exorcist: Believer” moved its launch date up every week. Even producer Jason Blum, head of Blumhouse, was open to the concept.

Dergarabedian threw chilly water on how nicely the mixture would have labored, nonetheless.

“The notion that an ‘Exorswift’ mashup might have in some way been similar to the ‘Barbenheimer’ phenomenon is patently absurd given the unlikelihood that legions of Swifties would have an curiosity in a really R-rated horror film like ‘The Exorcist: Believer,'” he stated. “Thus going all in on a head-to-head matchup with Swift might need proved disastrous.”

Taylor Swift performs onstage throughout her The Eras Tour at Lumen Field in Seattle, July 22, 2023.

Mat Hayward/tas23 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

After all, Swift’s Eras Tour live performance movie is already a $100 million blockbuster — and that is simply from presales from AMC Entertainment cinemas which does not embody dozens of different theater chains’ gross sales.

In transferring the week earlier than Swift’s movie opening, “The Exorcist: Believer” was capable of management a better variety of premium screens and extra viewers consideration. Around 34% of all theatrical foot visitors over the weekend was for the movie, in accordance with information from EntTelligence. Competition for that visitors included a brand new “Paw Patrol” movie and quite a few R-rated options like “Saw X,” “The Nun II,” “The Equalizer 3” and “Expend4bles.”

Box workplace analysts foresee a pointy drop in ticket gross sales from “The Exorcist: Believer’s” opening weekend to its second week. A decline is typical for horror films, however Swift’s movie will exacerbate it, the predict.

Word of mouth is also an element. Horror films are often review-proof, typically performing nicely theatrically regardless of important panning. As of Monday, “The Exorcist: Believer” holds a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and a 59% viewers ranking. With a number of extra weeks earlier than Halloween, the movie might nonetheless pull in moviegoers in search of a fright.

Scary stakes

There’s purpose why Universal could not take the chance on Exorswift. The studio badly wants “The Exorcist: Believer” and its deliberate sequels to be hits. (The subsequent movie, “The Exorcist: Deceiver,” is due April 2025.)

Universal and its streaming associate, Peacock, paid greater than $400 million for the rights to The Exorcist model. Through that funding, the studio has deliberate a trilogy of movies. The firm can be capable of place earlier Exorcist movies on Peacock and combine the IP in different methods, like Halloween Horror Nights at its home theme parks.

Still, no film within the franchise, aside from the unique, has grossed greater than $42 million domestically, in accordance with Comscore. In truth, not counting “Believer,” all the 5 sequels and prequels for the reason that first film have grossed beneath $150 million mixed.

A scary observe report

How “Exorcist” movies have fared on the home field workplace:

  • “The Exorcist” (1973): $193.2 million
  • “The Exorcist: The Beginning” (2004): $41.8 million
  • “The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen” (2000)*: $40.1 million
  • “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977): $30.7 million
  • “The Exorcist III” (1990): $26.1 million
  • “Dominion: A Prequel to The Exorcist” (2005): $251,495

Source: Comscore

*Special version re-release of the unique

“The Exorcist isn’t a model or collection that is been prevalent within the popular culture consciousness for many years now, and its few sequels beforehand by no means lived as much as the long-lasting field workplace run of the 1973 authentic,” stated Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxWorkplace.com. “The trade might have gotten a bit of carried away in anticipating an even bigger run simply because this Exorcist sequel has the Blumhouse identify on it.”

“The Exorcist,” launched on the day after Christmas in 1973, grossed $193 million domestically, and the “Version You’ve Never Seen” re-release, which featured further scenes, scored $40 million in 2000.

Otherwise, the franchise is cursed on the field workplace. “Exorcist II,” which was made in 1977 with out creator William Peter Blatty’s involvement, is extensively thought of one of many worst sequels ever made. Blatty, who died in 2017, wrote and directed 1990’s “The Exorcist III,” however he stated the film’s manufacturing firm, Morgan Creek, pressured him to severely compromise his imaginative and prescient. (The film has since grown in stature amongst followers and critics.)

Then there was an ill-fated try to supply a prequel movie within the 2000s that resulted in two wildly different movies. A typically well-regarded TV collection ran on Fox for 2 seasons in 2016 and 2017, however it was canceled after a big decline in rankings.

“Will the franchise have a better ceiling within the years to come back? That stays to be seen,” Robbins stated. “It will largely come all the way down to artistic choices and the way the studios make an effort to draw trendy horror audiences somewhat than leaning on a model {that a} large portion of at present’s moviegoers have not been frequently uncovered to.”

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, which distributes “The Exorcist: Believer,” is the mother or father firm of CNBC and Peacock. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.

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