Super Bowl weekend proves to be scary at box office

This weekend, the Super Bowl consumed my entire life. For the first time since I was 2, my very own Atlanta Falcons were in the big game. Every thought in my head was about the Falcons, every emotion in my heart was about the Falcons. So that means this was the exception to the other 51 weekends of the year, where my primary thoughts did not concern the movies. By the time you’re reading this, you’ll know if I am very happy or very sad, but as I wrote this, I was cautiously optimistic.

The Super Bowl is an event that affects literally everyone in the United States. You certainly watched the game, and on Sunday, I think the last thing you did was go to the movies.

With that said, though, movies actually came out this weekend, which leads the question, how do you release a movie when you really only have a two-day weekend?

Historically, certain types of films have done well this weekend: horror and romance movies. When you break it down, this actually makes perfect sense.

While most films aim to have their opening weekend make money equally across their first three days, horror is typically an extremely front-loaded genre. While the average movie might make, say, 35 percent to 40 percent of its gross on the first day, horror films range from 50 percent to 60 percent. You have a huge decrease from Friday to Saturday, then another decent size decrease from Saturday to Sunday. So for a horror film, by the time you’re at Sunday, you’re making barely a fraction of the weekend’s gross. Losing a day actually isn’t a huge deal.

Horror films have generally competition on any other weekend, and studios generally like to avoid Super Bowl weekend. Thus, besides holdovers from past weekends, horror films can have the market to themselves and thrive for two days.

The largest opening ever for a Super Bowl weekend, according to Box Office Mojo, was actually a movie I myself went to see in theaters — a little diddy called “Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert.” This was a genius release, as not only did girls flock to the theater, but at the time, Miley Cyrus was a sizzling hot star (not that she isn’t one today). The anticipation was huge for this film, and everyone wanted to see it the weekend it came out. For children across America, this was the big event of early February 2008, not watching one of the biggest upsets in the history of professional sports.

Another movie that thrived this weekend was the Nicholas Sparks heart-wrenching “Dear John.” This movie not only toppled the titanic “Avatar,” but it was the perfect remedy to this testosterone-filled weekend.

This is not to say that these movies are only meant for girls, or that the Super Bowl is only for guys, but there is value in appealing to everyone in the market specifically.

Looking ahead, next year it appears Super Bowl weekend will feature a film called “Cadaver,” which, surprise surprise, is a horror film. I know absolutely nothing about it — it’s in postproduction right now — but clearly studios are looking ahead and leaning in with this trend. This weekend, “Rings” severely underperformed, but this appears to be due to an underwhelming marketing campaign and lack of specific demand. When all is said and done, horror movies will continue to do well this weekend, but like always, there should be some quality.

Erik Benjamin is a sophomore television, radio and film major. His column appears weekly in Pulp. You can email him at or follow him @embenjamin14 on Twitter.


Top Stories