Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Surpasses Marvel, Dreamworks, and ‘Halloween’

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in black striking her classic pose, Freddy Fazbear smiling to camera with a mic in his hand, Michael Myers from Halloween looking inquisitive in the dark

Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) has become a box office sensation, not only breaking records within the horror and Blumhouse genres but also surpassing the achievements of major players like Marvel and Dreamworks. Originating from the wildly popular indie video game series created by Scott Cawthon nearly a decade ago, the franchise has developed a dedicated fanbase drawn to its simple gameplay, terrifying animatronics, and intricate lore.

The much-anticipated movie adaptation, produced by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions, directed by Emma Tammi, features a star-studded cast, including Josh Hutcherson, Matthew Lillard, Elizabeth Lail, and Piper Rubio, with animatronics and puppets crafted by the renowned Jim Henson Creature Factory.

Despite the excitement from fans, critical reviews were overwhelmingly negative, with the film earning a mere 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics cited an overemphasis on explaining the lore rather than showcasing the horror, a factor that typically spells doom for a film. However, audiences disagreed vehemently, resulting in a remarkable 89% audience score and an exceptional opening weekend.

Josh Hutcherson running from Freddy Fazbear, Foxy, and Bonnie in Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy’s defied critical backlash, dominating the box office with a domestic earning of $78 million (some reports claim $80 million) and an additional $52 million internationally, surpassing the $130 million mark globally. This feat is particularly impressive considering the simultaneous release on Peacock, making it the second-highest-grossing simultaneous release after Marvel’s Black Widow (2021). In fact, some reports suggest FNaF may have even surpassed the Marvel blockbuster.

The film shattered multiple records, securing the largest opening weekend for a horror movie in 2023, outperforming The Nun II (2023), and achieving the highest simultaneous release for Blumhouse, surpassing Halloween Kills (2021) and Halloween Ends (2022). FNaF now holds the record for the best global opening for a Blumhouse film, outpacing 2018’s Halloween. Additionally, it is the most successful PG-13 horror movie release to date, surpassing The Mummy Returns (2001). Notably, Five Nights at Freddy’s also doubled Dreamworks Animation’s Puss In Boots (2011) in its Halloween weekend opening.

As a video game movie, FNaF stands out, boasting the second-highest opening for a video game adaptation, trailing only The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023), another critic-disapproved yet audience-loved film of the year.

Foxy, Chica, Freddy Fazbear, and Bonnie on a dimly lit stage in Five Night's At Freddy's

In just one weekend, Five Nights at Freddy’s has become one of the highest-grossing films in the Blumhouse catalog, the horror genre, and the video game adaptation category. Its trajectory suggests it will continue climbing the ranks, solidifying its place as one of the most successful movies of the year, defying the critical narrative that initially surrounded it.

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