When it comes to box office juggernauts, cinephiles immediately latch onto four-quadrant blockbusters that speak to the masses like “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic,” or the recent “Top Gun: Maverick.” These films are quintessential blockbusters that have both hardcore fans and casual cinemagoers reeling with excitement, providing them unmatched spectacle. But when it comes to consistency, the so-called “blockbuster” that appeals to all can sometimes falter. This year, films like “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” and “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” have underperformed, despite being part of billion-dollar franchises.
When it comes to consistency, Hollywood can (and always has) bet on horror films to churn out a profit. But in the post-pandemic era, the genre is soaring high, while so-called surefire hits, like “Fast X” or “The Flash” are underdelivering. In 2016, the horror genre accounted for $512 million of the domestic box office share, with only one film (“The Conjuring 2”) crossing over $100 million, per The Numbers. A year later, thanks to breakout hits like “Get Out” and “It,” horror reached a whopping $1 billion domestically. But then a dip began to manifest, with 2018’s films raking in $851 million, and 2019’s offerings resulting in a total shy of $800 million. Horror films were certainly profitable but a downward trend was apparent.
But in the post-pandemic era, horror films are picking up the slack, especially when compared to theatrical outings from genres like comedy and drama. In 2022, The Numbers reports that horror was the third most profitable genre, just behind action and adventure. That year, horror films boasted a domestic haul of $634 million, and this year, the total stands shy of $500 million. As the box office continues to rebound from COVID-19, it’s clear audiences are giving horror a chance.