The Wretched is not the right way to describe this horror film when talking about its box office numbers. First, it synchronized with the popularity of social distancing at drive-ins and took root there, then it squeezed into Phase 2 of “America’s grand re-opening” where it has taken success indoors.
The ticket numbers as of last Thursday were nothing a Hollywood exec would cancel all calls for. But with a gross that exceeded $350,000 at the box office, mostly from drive-ins, they certainly paused.
Then this past weekend 59 brick and mortar cineplexes around the country tallied $186,000 collectively from Friday through Sunday. That’s quite a chunk of change considering the country is still technically closed. Furthermore, its dark subject matter seems desirable in a time when it’s assumed people want more uplifting fare.
In other words, horror fans showed up, and perhaps new ones were born.
The film follows a young boy as he squares off against a witch disguised as the woman next door. It made a good impression when it debuted at Fantasia International Film Festival in 2019 and is certified fresh over at the online critic collective Rotten Tomatoes.
Written and directed by Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce, The Wretched may have been kismet for success. Specifically, it was released at the right places at the right times. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore seems to think so.
“A horror movie, a big screen, the communal experience; these are three things that go perfectly together and movie fans have found a friend in IFC, a company that has been committed to the theatrical exhibition model in the age of COVID-19 by delivering The Wretched to patrons hungry for outside of the home entertainment despite having a scary number of options at home for filmed content,” said Dergarabedian.
Currently, there are 179 indoor theaters open, hoping movie lovers will journey to their popcorn meccas. There are two big summer releases coming in June to test those waters: Tenet (July 17) and Mulan (July 24).
It’s also interesting to note that horror movies seem to be the entertainment guinea pigs during this pandemic. First, The Invisible Man a critical and box office success was victim to mass closures and emerged victorious on PVOD just four weeks after it hit theaters. Then another horror movie, The Hunt followed suit and again proved resourceful.
Another indie film, Skyman, from the director of The Blair Witch Project, Dan Myrick, is hoping the drive-in is the perfect place for his sci-fi film. The docu-style extraterrestrial mystery is landing at outdoor theaters sometime this summer. For more information on that movie click HERE.
The Wretched is also available to rent On Demand on most paid streaming services.