Hollywood has been hip to the lucrative power of 1980s horror movie nostalgia for a long while now, but rarely has an '80s horror remake done so much better than its predecessors.
Evil Dead opened this weekend with an estimated $26 million, a full $10 mil of that coming from Friday and Thursday midnight showings. Compare that opening figure to the final gross of 1983's The Evil Dead, adjusted for ticket inflation: $6.1 million. Not too shabby.
Granted, The Evil Dead was made for pocket change and rarely screened in more than a couple dozen theaters at a time. It's hardly a fair comparison. Nor is it all that fair to look at 1987's Evil Dead II, which pulled in a total of $12.2 million in adjusted gross on just a few hundred screens. But 1993's Army of Darkness was made at a major studio (Universal), and enjoyed a true wide release. In 2013 dollars, its final gross was $22.4 million. The new Evil Dead will blow past that figure today.
These persnickety comparisons matter for two reasons. One, Hollywood's addiction to reviving moribund horror franchises with big-budget remakes is not dying off any time soon. And two, original Evil Dead hero Ash (as played by horror icon Bruce Campbell) has never been closer to returning to a theater near you.
At WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif., last weekend, Campbell — who produced the new Evil Dead with original director Sam Raimi and original producer Rob Tapert — dropped a big hint for what he and his partners' intentions are for the franchise. Discussing director Fede Alvarez's decision not to bring back Ash and instead introduce five new victims into that cursed cabin in the woods, Campbell noted that "Sam was very sensitive to the idea of being able to make another Evil Dead with the Ash character."
If that wasn't enough to get Deadites in a lather, later in the panel, Alvarez presented a scenario that had the crowd loudly cheering before he'd even finished. "My dream — just as a fan, nothing is official — is to make a sequel to this film while Sam is making Army of Darkness II," said the first time feature director. "And then bring the two sagas together into one final epic film." Groovy — if it pans out.
Speaking of nostalgically terrifying movie series returning to theaters, the 3-D re-release of Jurassic Park managed to scare up $18.2 million this weekend. That's not bad given audience fatigue with 3-D re-releases. But with pre-production underway for Jurassic Park 4, it's a murky indication at best for whether audiences are still hungry for rampaging dinosaurs.
Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
1. Evil Dead* — $26 million
2. G.I. Joe: Retaliation — $21.1 million
2. The Croods — $21.1 million
4. Jurassic Park 3D* — $18.2 million
5. Olympus Has Fallen — $10.04 million
6. Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor — $10 million
7. Oz The Great and Powerful — $8.2 million
8. The Host — $5.2 million
9. The Call — $3.5 million
10. Admission — $2.1 million
Note: The tie between G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Croods will settled Monday after studios release the final figures.