The month of October is a fun time for anyone who likes horror, mystery, and general spookiness. “Goosebumps” was number 1 at the weekend box office, and it’s no surprise. Some fans of the books have been waiting decades for a movie to be made about the popular horror comedy series. It’s also in the Halloween spirit.
Strangely, another horror movie flopped at the box office. “Crimson Peak” debuted on the same day as “Goosebumps,” Oct. 16, but it was crushed under the weight of other films. The cast members include Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska, all of whom are talented. It is brought to us by director Guillermo del Toro, who is famous for his creepy fantasy “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Despite the enticing talent, and the guarantee of an eerie del Toro film, horror fans rebuffed the movie. It’s not a bad movie. In fact, it’s a superior horror film with a great plot. How could it fail?
A “Vanity Fair” article, Box Office: ‘Goosebumps’ Tops ‘The Martian,’ ‘Crimson Peak’ Falls Flat, stated that “Goosebumps” brought in $23.5 million in its opening weekend, while “Crimson Peak” brought in only $12.6 million. The article offered this theory for why “Crimson Peak” was not a success:
The studio believes that “Crimson Peak” struggled to break out in part because of the wealth of fare such as “Bridge of Spies” and “Sicario” aimed at older crowds.
This may be the case, but the theory has a flaw. “Bridge of Spies” and “Sicario” are not even in the same genre as “Crimson Peak.” “Bridge of Spies” is a historical drama and “Sicario” is a crime thriller. The only film that is in theaters, opened this month, and is in the same genre as “Crimson Peak,” despite its different tone, is “Goosebumps”. “Hotel Transylvania 2” has already been in theaters for over a month now.
This may be an instance where Legendary Pictures, the production company behind “Crimson Peak,” greatly underestimated the universal appeal of “Goosebumps”. The first book, Welcome to Dead House, came out in 1992. The TV show ran from 1995-1998. The people who grew up reading this series or watching the TV show when it was all new and hip are now in their 20s and 30s. Anyone who thought the “Goosebumps” movie would only be appealing to children was sorely mistaken. The movie is based on a hit series of books that present day adults—not children—discovered in the ‘90s.
Pitting “Crimson Peak” against a guaranteed horror hit like “Goosebumps” was poor judgment. Assuming only families with small children would see “Goosebumps”, while teens and adults would watch “Crimson Peak,” was flawed. Adult horror fans who would enjoy a movie like “Crimson Peak” also grew up loving “Goosebumps”. That is huge competition.