Title: “Mixed Results for Universal’s The Exorcist: Believer on Opening Weekend”
Universal’s highly anticipated release of The Exorcist: Believer had a lukewarm reception during its opening weekend, managing to cover its production cost but facing negative feedback from critics and fans. Believer is the initial film in a trilogy reboot of the renowned horror title, following Universal’s acquisition of the franchise’s rights in 2021.
The deal negotiated by Universal included theatrical and streaming rights, as well as theme park extensions. This allowed the studio to take a more flexible approach, making it less crucial for each film in the trilogy to generate significant standalone profits.
Initial predictions estimated that Believer would gross between $30-35 million at the box office. However, the film fell short of expectations, earning only $26.5 million domestically. Despite this, it achieved a more favorable global start, reaching $44.2 million.
Several factors contributed to Believer’s underwhelming performance. First, a last-minute date change was made to avoid clashing with the release of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert film. This alteration seemed to hamper the film’s marketing campaign, which was further limited by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. Additionally, the horror market remains highly competitive, with many new releases vying for attention.
Given the mixed reaction to Believer, Universal may need to reassess the creative direction of the franchise as they plan for the next two Exorcist films. The second installment, entitled Deceiver, had already been announced for a 2025 release and boasts a completed script. However, it remains uncertain whether director David Gordon Green will be involved in the project.
Notwithstanding the obstacles faced by Believer, Universal and Blumhouse have another horror film in the pipeline. Five Nights at Freddy’s is set to hit theaters and stream on Peacock simultaneously on October 27. Despite this unconventional release strategy, the film is projected to have a strong opening.
Universal’s The Exorcist trilogy reboot has certainly faced its fair share of obstacles. While Believer’s financial performance was not outstanding, the franchise’s fate remains up in the air as it looks toward the next installment. Fans and critics alike eagerly await updates on the creative direction of the beloved horror series.
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