Profiting from Horror


Throughout the past ten years there have been a number of low-budget Horror films that have set the box office alight. This weekend from the 6th until the 8th of January 2012 another low-budget Horror made for a reported $1 million beat off competition including War Horse, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The Devil Inside from director William Brent Bell has opened to an impressive $33,732,515 to go top of the American Box Office and on other a 1000 less screens that it’s nearest competition Ghost Protocol.

The film has been released under Paramount’s Insurge banner which is aimed at releasing ultra low-budget pictures in order to find the next Paranormal Activity. The film is continuing in the ever popular trend of the “found footage”/”fake documentary” school of film making which is proving popular with audience and studio executives. The Devil Inside tells the story of Isabella a documentary film maker who is looking into supposed possessions by demons.

It is a subject matter that audiences seem to be lapping up. Paranormal Activity was reportedly shot on a budget of $15,000 and that went on to gross $193 million world wide, and was followed by two further sequels Paranormal Activity 2 and Paranormal Activity 3 which grossed a combined $380 million with a forth instalment announced for October of this year. In 2010 Eli Roth produced German film maker Daniel Stamm’s The Last Exorcism. Filmed on a budget of $1.8 million it took $67,738,090 world wide during its release. There are countless others that have performed brilliantly in the theatres. The likes of Hostel, Saw and Cabin Fever all did a good return on there initial production costs.

This is all of course brilliant news for the budding film maker. Gone are the days where your first feature would be lost to oblivion, now audiences are craving new and inventive film making. And it all harks back to a film that was released back in 1999, and brought the world the low-budget “found footage” Horror movie. The Blair Witch Project was the brain child of writer/directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, and became a cultural phenomenon. It was the film that was talked about on both the play grounds and around the water cooler. Filmed on a budget of $60,000 it went on to gross just under $250 million world wide, add that to the million that it was bound to make through DVD sales and The Blair Witch is an amazingly profitable film.

Given the financial successes of the low-budget Horror, it is likely that we are set to see a lot more coming to the big screen in the coming years. And with the likes of Paramount investing in these low-budget Horrors it is the best time for film makers with a bit of flair and natural talent to get their name out there. It’s an exciting time for the low-budget film maker, and we should look forward to being along for the ride.


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