I don’t claim to be a box office expert by any means. I usually leave tracking the totals and predicting grosses to the Hollywood bean counters, but every now and then a distribution choice will make me pause and say “hmm.” The one I’m currently puzzling over is the release dates of The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2. What the hell is going on?
The Conjuring was released on July 19. Insidious 2 is slated for September 13. That’s only 8 weeks apart. Both are James Wan directed spookfests likely to feature his distinctive creepy style, so there are definite similarities inherent. My question is, is it too soon? I’m sure we all remember what happened earlier this year with Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. Olympus wasn’t a runaway hit, but it did respectable numbers. 14 weeks later, White House tanked. Neither was all that good from what I’ve heard, so that might have something to do with it, but most box office analysts maintain that “didn’t we just see that movie?” syndrome had a hand in the more expensive flick’s failure. With only 8 weeks between them, could The Conjuring hurt Insidious 2’s performance?
Let’s examine the various factors at play here. As hardcore horror fans, we all know that they will be “different but the same.” We care about the story and the characters. The casual moviegoer who might see the new horror flick if they’ve already seen the blockbusters or is just looking for a snogging spot will probably look at it as “another ghost flick.” Then again, originality isn’t all that valued as a commodity by the majority of moviegoers. There’s also the fact that it’s a sequel to a successful movie, so that “sameness” could actually work in Insidious 2’s favor. Is it too much of the same at one time or is striking while the iron is hot a smart move? I’m not making an assertion one way or the other, because I can see both outcomes being equally likely. Either way, though, I think it's a risky move
It seems to me that the smarter course of action would have been to drop Chapter 2 in October. Yes, I know that’s only a few more weeks, but then you would have the Halloween factor working for you. The only real competition would have been Paranormal Activity 5 and the Carrie remake. Now that PA5 has been moved to next year, Insidious 2 could have been the big Halloween movie of 2013. I know it’s short notice, but release dates have been changed that close to rollout before. They’re probably counting on the flick holding over into spook season, but that’s a heavy gamble in this age of ever shortening theatrical runs.
Will it be like opening two of the same restaurant in the same town and they’re so similar that it kills one of them? Will it be like putting two Starbucks on the same block and the product is so hot (pun intended) that the rabid, cult-like fans will eat it up and both will thrive? I know which one I’m hoping for, but I also know which one I’m afraid is gonna end up happening. I hope I’m wrong. What do you think Cellmates? Am I onto something or am I reading WAY too much into this? Sound off in the comments section and tell me how you think this will go down. Here’s hoping that they both rake in the cash because when horror wins, we all win.