Rotten Potatoes: Halloween comes early as horror tears up the box office

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Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 00:00

It’s official. Horror is the new black. Or rather supernatural horror is the new black. Or rather it’s the old black before that colour’s dominance was assailed by all kinds of everything.

Fans of the bump-in-the-night nexus created by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring), Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) and Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity, Insidious) weren’t exactly blown away by Insidious: Chapter 2 (above). The exit reports were as mixed as the critical reviews were baffled. This didn’t prevent audiences from swarming the multiplexes. By Friday evening, the film’s $20 million US haul had broken records. Insidious 2 can boast the biggest September opening day in US box-office history and the second biggest ever weekend ($40.3 million) in that month.

Back in the Republic of Ireland, the same film polled €206,520 from 50 sites. Screen averages of €4,130 make it one of the best performing September titles ever and ensured it was a comfortable No 1 at the box office. The thrilling racing drama Rush, despite rave notices and a healthy take of €138,591 from 42 locations, missed out on the pole position with a screen average of €3,300.

Insidious 2’s performance has undoubtedly been bolstered by the popularity of The Conjuring. This earlier James Wan-Patrick Wilson collaboration is still out there making Irish money: the arrival of Insidious 2 pushed The Conjuring into the 16th spot in the box office chart. But at the time of writing the film can claim a running total of more than €1,321,000.

Lower down the rankings (much lower down) we find Riddick, which opened poorly in the UK compared with the US and poorly in the ROI compared with the UK. There is, beneath Riddick’s €146,286 accumulative total, a tale of two Diesels to be told. America loves Vin as the ill-defined, night-seeing alien: the ROW prefer him driving speedy motor vehicles in the Fast and Furious franchise. Why?

We can’t be certain. But the poor showing for Pain and Gain is much easier to explain. Released as long ago as April in the US, Pain and Gain was doomed in Europe from the get-go. Our chums on the internet had, many months ago, ensured that anyone who wanted to see the film had already seen the film.

Last year, the similarly minded Mark Wahlberg vehicle Ted broke records and took staggering millions. Pain and Gain is currently limping out of the Irish chart after three weeks with only €234,480.

There’s a lesson in there about releasing day-and-date worldwide or not at all. It’s high time the studios heard it.

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