Midnight Update: The Evil Dead remake earned an estimated $1.8 million from 10 p.m. and midnight showings last night. In comparison, 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street remake earned $1.6 million at midnight and went on to open to $32.9 million. With the inclusion of 10 p.m. shows, it's likely that Evil Dead is a little bit more front-loaded, though it's now guaranteed to open north of $20 million for the weekend.
Forecast: The first weekend of April is a throwback featuring a remake and a 3D re-release, and it looks like the remake is going to easily take first place.
On the back of an aggressive marketing effort, Evil Dead opens at 3,025 locations and should have no problem earning over $20 million this weekend. Meanwhile, Jurassic Park 3D, debuting at 2,771 locations, will be the latest test of the viability of 3D re-releases.
The original Evil Dead movie, released in 1983, earned a meager $2.4 million during its theatrical run. Since then, though, it's become the definition of a cult hit, and has amassed an extremely devoted fan base. For the remake, TriStar (division of Sony) and FilmDistrict have reached out to those fans to assuage any potential fears they might have about the quality of the remake—the lack of any visual effects whatsoever has been emphasized—and hit them directly with well-received screenings at the South by Southwest Film Festival last month.
Still, fan outreach alone isn't enough to drive a strong opening, so Sony has targeted general horror fans with a bold, confident marketing effort. The tagline "The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience" has been prevalent, and the intense previews suggest the movie has a healthy mix of supernatural scares and hardcore violence. Basically, Sony has made clear that if you're an adult fan of the horror genre, this is a movie for you.
As with most genres, horror remakes have been hit-or-miss over the past few years. On the upper end, there's Friday the 13th ($40.6 million opening) and A Nightmare on Elm Street ($32.9 million), while mid-range movies include The Crazies ($16.1 million) and The Last House on the Left ($14.1 million). For Evil Dead, Sony is expecting an opening somewhere in between ($20-22 million).
The 3D version of Jurassic Park hits theaters around 20 years after the movie earned $357.1 million—or around $694 million adjusted for ticket price inflation—at the domestic box office in 1993. Worldwide, it banked $915 million, which made it the highest-grossing movie ever at the time. It remains extremely well-regarded today, and holds a spot on IMDb's Top 250 list.
While animated 3D re-releases have had a rough time lately—Monsters, Inc. is petering out with less than $34 million—the only two live-action 3D re-releases are comparatively a bit better. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace opened to $22.5 million in February 2012, while Titanic 3D had a $25.6 million five-day start last April.
While the opportunity to see a classic like Jurassic Park on the big screen again—or for the first time for anyone under 30 years of age or so—is definitely an exciting one, it still seems unlikely that Jurassic Park 3D will also hit that $20 million level. Not that it really matters, anyway: Universal is going to clean up in China, where Titanic 3D earned $145 million. Forecast (April 5-7) 1. Evil Dead - $25.2 million 2. The Croods - $22.4 million (-16%) 3. G.I. Joe - $19.7 million (-51%) 4. Jurassic Park 3D - $16.3 million 5. Temptation - $10.3 million (-52%) Bar for Success Evil Dead and Jurassic Park 3D should each get a pass if they open over $15 million this weekend.