The Business of Scary Movies

Horror movies make scary-good money

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Love a good horror movie on Halloween? You’re not alone. 48% of Americans say they’re planning to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with a scary movie. Horror movies are a perfect recipe for Halloween fun. They’re also a scary-good investment.

Blockbusters and superhero movies still reign supreme in terms of overall dollars, but the horror genre has historically offered the best value, or return on investment, for a movie studio’s money. (Net profits / initial investment = ROI.) The higher the ROI, the better the investment, and horror movies have boasted some truly eye-popping ROIs, thanks to their ability to deliver big box office on comparatively teeny budgets.

Take Avengers: Endgame, one of the top-grossing movies of all-time. $2.7B at the worldwide box office on a $356M budget = a 685% ROI. Pretty good, right? Now take Stephen King’s It, the top-grossing horror movie of all-time, raking in $701M worldwide on a $35M budget for an ROI of over 1,900%.

Here are a (severed) handful of scary-profitable horror movies:

A Quiet Place

💸 Budget: $17,000,000

💰Box office: $334,000,000

ROI: 1,865%

Halloween (2018)

💸 Budget: $10,000,000

💰Box office: $255,000,000

ROI: 2,450%

Halloween (1978)

💸 Budget: $320,000

💰Box office: $47,000,000

ROI: 14,588%

The Blair Witch Project

💸 Budget: $60,000

💰Box office: $245,000,000

ROI: 408,230%

Paranormal Activity

💸 Budget: $15,000

💰Box office: $193,000,000

ROI: 1,286,600%