Friday, July 23, 2010

Movies: "The Most Successful Horror Movie Series."


According to Reuters, this year at the San Diego Nerd Prom, Guinness World Records will officially bestow the title "Most Successful Horror Movie Series" onto the Saw franchise.

Admittedly, by "success" Guinness is talking strictly in financial terms. Still, the numbers are impressive. Adjusting dollars for purposes of comparison, we get the following worldwide box office revenues:

Halloween (10 films, including the two Zombie directed remakes) = $366,893,444
Friday the 13th (12 films, including the 2009 remake) = $465,239,523
Nightmare on Elm Street (9 films, including 2010 remake) = $446,590,447
Saw (6 films) = $738,465,450

I don't have a lot of new analysis on this, so I'll just do a quick re-cap of a point I made previously regarding the series. I think the overwhelming, and to many bloggers completely baffling, success of the Saw franchise is mainly a generational thing. Bloggers, by and larger, represent an older generation: the post-boomers, Gen X, whatever you wish to call it. There's is a tiny generation. They were dwarfed by the boomers and now they are vastly outnumbered by the rising generation after them (which is, so far, the largest generation America has ever seen). When we talk about the horror icons that are precious to horror fans from the Slasher Era, we're talking about characters beloved by one of the smallest cohorts of horror filmgoers ever to buy movie tickets. That these same characters dominate criticism on the blogosphere gives them an air of importance and relevance that, in reality, is simply a byproduct of the fact that most bloggers are self-selected representatives of that same tiny cohort. In fact, outside of the clique of '80s horror nostalgists, I suspect these characters just aren't that important to most folks. By contrast, assume that every generation has some minor portion of folks who become horror fans and that this proportion to the larger generation is roughly stable, then you've got a truly massive cohort of horror fans who want their own icons, their own stories. And perhaps that's the real crime of the wealth of remakes and reboots: It robs one generation of its own chance to be a part of a story, instead holding them hostage to the tired, reheated stories of a previous generation.

3 comments:

Gene Phillips said...

You make some good points, but I get the sense that the cinematic horror genre is still fairly marginalized in the US these days, regardless as to whether Gen Y (?) turns out in greater numbers or not.

I'm reminded of an essay by Anthony Timpone nostalgically remembering a brief shining moment when horror films became widely accessible to a majority audience, mostly in the early 70's: ROSEMARY'S BABY, EXORCIST, OMEN.

I'd think that the main significance of the slasher figures to Gen Y is one of identification: "What's a slasher villain?" "Oh, guy in a hockey mask killin' chicks and dudes."

I haven't impressed with most horror remakes but I judge them on the same level as I judge revivals of Shakespeare plays. Yes, they take away work from current toilers in the fields but if those toilers want to compete they have to fight harder to get noticed. Build a better mousetrap and cut off Kronos' balls with it (or something).

CRwM said...

Gene,

Good points all.

I was unclear about the cohort size thing though. It wasn't that Gen Y likes horror more than Gen X and, consequently, shows out in bigger numbers. Instead, I was trying to say that even if they're no more interested in horror than the previous generation - let's say only 4% of people from each gen like horror enough to consider themselves fans of the genre - they're sliver of folks will be so much larger than our generation's sliver of folks (about 2 million Gen X fans and about 3 million Gen Y fans, at last count). In both cases though, we're still talking about a tiny minority of the population.

I believe there's actually anecdotal evidence that suggests they, as a whole, like horror better than we do, but that's mostly speculation on my part. And you don't need it to show how their tastes could swamp Gen Xer's tastes at the box office.

movie collections said...

Yeah I agree that all the movie discussed are such a masterpiece in the category of horror movies. The remake of all the movie are not successful but these are so good that I wanted to see their remake again and again.