Five Nights at Freddy’s is soon hitting theaters and it may just take this year’s horror movie crown. The video game adaptation has been eagerly awaited by horror fans since it was announced all the way back in 2015, and then again in 2017 when Blumhouse took over the rights and the project. While the payoff has been long in coming, it’s finally here and from all indications, it’s set to be a hit.
The story follows down-on-his-luck security guard Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson, who has chosen some delightfully weird projects since his Hunger Games days) who takes a job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza as an overnight security guard. The place, which once used to be a beloved family entertainment center, is now run-down. However, Mike soon learns that the four animatronic mascots of the place – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy – come alive and murder anyone who is there after midnight.
It’s a fun premise, and anyone who was ever slightly creeped out by the Chuck-E-Cheese animatronic band as a kid will surely appreciate the story. But thanks to a unique blend of factors, Five Nights at Freddy’s is quietly growing in both buzz and box office projections to position itself as the biggest horror movie of 2023.
It Comes With A Built-In Fanbase
Outside of perhaps Swifties, the most rabid and loyal group are hardcore horror fans. In the case of Five Nights at Freddy’s that fanbase was earned over time. It all started off with a point-and-click horror survival video game created by game developer Scott Cawthon in 2014. At the time, it earned mostly positive reviews from game critics, but its popularity really picked up when Let’s Play gamers started sharing playthroughs on YouTube. From there, the audience for the game and fanbase grew.
That fanbase grew so large, in fact, that a full five years after the original release, it got new releases for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It also spawned a legit multimedia franchise. Along with the game, there came comic books, sequels, fangames, and imitators. It was a natural evolution for the next step to be a live-action movie adaptation. Clearly, the audience and their love for the franchise is already there, and with each new iteration of the game or new media spinoff, the cult following has only grown.
It Has The Buzzy Feel of A Sleeper Hit Movie
Five Nights at Freddy’s already has the buzzy anticipation on social media and in certain internet circles of a movie that just might be a hit. The best marketing is word-of-mouth and natural hype, and no one hypes something beloved and culty more than horror fans. Thanks to that dedicated fanbase, more casual horror fans who may not be familiar with the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise are learning about it through overlapping circles on the internet and liking what they see. They’ll soon be learning all about Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy, the crazed animatronic animals–titular antagonist Freddy Fazbear, in particular, has the potential to become as beloved a horror icon as Freddy, Jason, Michael, Chucky, or Ghostface.
This brief exchange nicely sums up the buzz building around Five Nights at Freddy’s:
Its Box Office Is Already Look Good – And They Keep Growing
Early box office projections have Five Nights at Freddy‘s absolutely crushing both Saw X and The Exorcist: Believer at the box office, not just in opening weekend, but in total. While early box office projections are not necessarily set in stone, they’re still a great indicator of how well a movie will do. Originally, Five Nights at Freddy’s appeared to be eyeballing an opening weekend of $40 million, though some sites gave a spread of around $40 million.
That’s already hugely impressive for a relatively unknown horror movie, but the numbers just keep growing. Thanks to that buzz and pre-ticket sales, the projections were adjusted and increased by a whopping $10 million, with some predictors guessing it may even cross the $50 million threshold for its opening weekend. That would make it the biggest pre-Halloween weekend opening to date. While the budget is admittedly elevated for a horror movie (estimates put it around $25 million), it’s already set to make back its budget and start earning a profit on its opening weekend alone. With good word-of-mouth, that number will only grow. For hardcore horror fans or horror casuals, Five Nights at Freddy’s sure looks set to become the next big horror movie franchise.