It’s been a good year for video game adaptations at the box office. The Super Mario Bros. Movie set the record for a video game movie debut, and now Five Nights at Freddy’s has set a new benchmark for second place. The movie debuted at $78 million at the North America box office, and $130 million globally in its first three days of release.
Five Nights at Freddy’s massive success is due in no small part to the huge fanbase of the video games it’s based on. The game series started in 2014 and has been going strong ever since, in part thanks to the support of its very dedicated YouTube community.
All this fan excitement is also a likely reason for the disparity between Five Nights at Freddy’s reviews and the fan reaction. While the movie has gotten mostly poor reviews, the movie has a very strong A- Cinemascore, signalling that people leaving showings of the movie had a great time.
Adding to FNAF’s impressive success at the box office is the fact that it was available on Peacock the same day as its theatrical release. This is a strategy Universal and Peacock have employed before, but with much less successful results, with Halloween Kills ($49 million) and Halloween Ends ($40 million). But Five Nights at Freddy’s impressive day-and-date success isn’t just limited to Peacock. It’s also the biggest box office for a same-day streaming movie ever, beating the Halloween movies and Dune ($41 million). The only same-day movie with a technically bigger opening weekend is Marvel’s Black Widow, which was released on Disney Plus on the same day it came out theatrically, but watching it at home required an additional $30 purchase alongside the streaming subscription, so it’s not exactly the same thing.
The rest of the box office has been shaky and unpredictable this year. There have been massive successes, like Mario, Barbie, and Oppenheimer, but there have been many more disappointments, like Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One. But if there’s anything we’ve learned over the course of the pandemic and the slow revival of the box office over the last two years, it’s horror fans love movie theaters, and they’re willing to buy tickets to movies that interest them.