Universal & Blumhouses Exorcist: Believer Easily Heading To Franchise Record Opening Of $30M+ Box Office Preview

Universal/Blumhouse/Morgan Creek’s The Exorcist: Believer will continue horror’s head-spinning roll at the autumn box office with a $30M-$36M domestic start at 3,600 locations.

Currently, the R-rated reboot/sequel is trending demo-wise like The Nun 2, which saw a $32.6M opening, meaning it’s great with the 18-34 demographic, Hispanic and Latino audiences as well as older guys. Nun 2 skewed a tad more female at 52%, and it’s expected that this David Gordon Green-directed Exorcist installment will be around an even split as well. Universal will have Imax and PLF screens with previews starting Thursday at 5 p.m. We hear production cost of The Exorcist: Believer is $30M before P&A.

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In the midst of an actors strike where talent can’t promote, branded horror has posted solid openings with Nun 2 but also this past weekend with Saw X, which sliced off $18.3M and bounced the franchise back significantly from its all-time low start on previous chapter Spiral ($8.75M) by 109%. Saw X led all movies at the box office Monday with an estimated take of $1.56M, putting the tenthquel’s running total at $19.8M.

The big question is how Exorcist: Believer holds up once Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour hits cinemas on October 13. You’ll remember, Universal moved up Exorcist: The Believer by a week to stay out of the Swift storm.

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There’s a notion that while branded movies have better chances at the box office than original IP during an actors strike, i.e. The Creator‘s lighter start of $14M and Dumb Money‘s lackluster wide break of $3.3M, overall the SAG-AFTRA walkout is definitely watering down all grosses with thespians unable to promote their films.

Even if Exorcist: Believer opens in the high-$20Ms, Uni/Blumhouse/Morgan Creek still could call it a record opening for the franchise. National opening weekends weren’t recorded by the industry back in 1973, when the original The Exorcist opened, that pic ultimately grossing $233M stateside and landing Oscars for Best Sound and William Peter Blatty’s adapted screenplay. The Exorcist III opened to $9.3M in 1990, by far the biggest debut for a movie in the franchise to date, and legged out to $26M. The 2000 re-release of the original pic was a cash cow at the fall box office, bowing to $8.1M and grossing $39.4M.

Universal got ahold of the franchise global rights to the Exorcist for $400M in partnership with Blumhouse, Morgan Creek and streaming service Peacock. The latest reboot/sequel will hit PVOD after about 17 days and Peacock at 45 days. Ellen Burstyn reprises her role as Chris MacNeil, the mother of the demon-possessed child in the first movie, a role that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Burstyn did not participate in any of the previous – and largely panned – Exorcist sequels or prequels, which included Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Exorcist III (1990), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005).

Green and story-by guy Danny McBride were behind reviving Universal’s recent Halloween trilogy, with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode. That trio of movies combined to gross $497.6M worldwide.

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Blurb for the latest Exorcist movie: Since the death of his pregnant wife in a Haitian earthquake 13 years ago, Victor Fielding (Leslie Odom Jr.) has raised their daughter, Angela (Lidya Jewett) on his own. But when Angela and her friend Katherine (Olivia O’Neill) disappear in the woods, only to return three days later with no memory of what happened to them, it unleashes a chain of events that will force Victor to confront the nadir of evil and, in his terror and desperation, seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything like it before: Chris MacNeil.

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