Box Office: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Bears Down With Big $39.4 Million Opening Day

It’s only been out for two nights, but “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is already off to a robust start at the domestic box office. Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions’ horror film spring-trapped $39.4 million in ticket sales from 3,675 locations on its opening day, a number that includes $10.3 million in preview screenings.

That’s an impressive figure for a release that is already available on streaming. Universal elected to drop “Freddy’s” on its platform Peacock on the same day as its theatrical debut. The studio employed the strategy with previous Blumhouse productions, the slasher sequels “Halloween Kills” ($49 million debut) and “Halloween Ends” ($40 million debut). “Five Nights” looks to be outperforming both of those films though, now projecting a three-day total of $78 million. With a lean production budget of $20 million, it’s already a winner.

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The horror film, based on the viral, lore-heavy video game series of the same name, is looking to land among the top October openings ever. “Joker” holds the record with $96.1 million, followed by this fall’s “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” ($92 million), two “Venom” entries ($90 million and $80 million) and Blumhouse’s first “Halloween” ($76 million). If “Five Nights at Freddy’s” beats out “Black Adam ($67 million), that’ll be the sixth-biggest October debut ever.

It’s a testament to the property’s popularity that “Freddy’s” could play like an event release when it’s available for living room viewing. An adaptation of the video game series has been long-awaited, with producer Jason Blum’s updates on the long-gestating project often igniting chatter among the fanbase over recent years. The PG-13 rating, which did spark some disappointment among a handful of devotees, does allow the release to bring in younger audiences who have grown up with the games. Reviews have been quite negative, but audiences are big fans, as indicated by the A- grade on Cinema Score (quite stellar for a horror release).

For Universal and Blumhouse, it’s a welcome accomplishment after the duo’s recent horror revival, “The Exorcist: Believer,” underwhelmed in its opening at the top of the month. Universal shelled out $400 million for rights to mount a new trilogy in the franchise, plus a $30 million production budget for the feature — but the legacy sequel has only earned $111 million globally in the weeks since. With “Freddy’s” though, the pair of studios are sending October out on a strong note.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” follows a security guard who takes over the night shift at a haunted pizza parlor, where the animatronic mascots have minds of their own. Josh Hutcherson stars, along with Elizabeth Lail, Matthew Lillard and Mary Stuart Masterson. Emma Tammi directs.

Taylor Swift will fall to second after two weeks atop domestic charts. “The Eras Tour” earned $4.8 million on Friday, down 53% from last week’s figure. The concert film should edge beyond a $150 million domestic gross through the end of the three-day frame, ranking it among the top 15 North American releases of the year.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is headed for third, projecting a second weekend of $10 million to go down 57% from its opening debut. The North American gross for the Martin Scorsese film looks to edge past $41 million through 10 days. Was Apple expecting its grim historical epic to out-earn a $200 million production budget in its domestic release? Probably not. It would’ve been something though!

Angel Studios returns to the box office this weekend for the first time since smashing expectations with “Sound of Freedom” this summer. It’s opening the documentary “After Death,” which explores individuals’ encounters with the afterlife, in about 2,600 venues. Competitors are projecting a debut of $5.7 million. The A- grade on Cinema Score shows it’s resonating with its target audience.

And speaking of Christian encounters with the supernatural, “The Exorcist: Believer” should round out the top five, earning $3.3 million in its fourth weekend of release. It should push to a $59.5 million domestic total through Sunday.

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