Box Office Predictions: The Exorcist: Believer to have franchise best opening

Despite horrible reviews, The Exorcist: Believer should easily top the charts with the best opening weekend of the franchise

This weekend sees just one new wide theatrical release as The Exorcist: Believer hits screens to kick off the month of October in spooky fashion. Director David Gordon Green is following his Halloween model and creating a direct sequel to the original 1973 classic while ignoring the other sequels. That model worked out for the director with 2018’s Halloween as that film managed a solid $76.2 million opening on its way to a $159.3 million domestic total, which helped reinvigorate the franchise. Unfortunately, Green decided to make two more Halloween films after that, and the results were, quite frankly, not good. 

The release date for The Exorcist: Believer was originally next week, but if you can believe it, the devil is actually afraid of Taylor Swift as when the release date of her Era’s Tour movie was announced, Blumhouse wisely moved up the release date, vacating their carefully planned Friday The 13th release.

I am not a huge fan of exorcism movies, not because they scare me, quite the opposite. Most of them are just laughably bad, with no creepiness factor at all. The trailer for Exorcist: Believer had me pumped up to see the film as it looked like it would be genuinely creepy, and I thought Gordon Green did a great job with the first Halloween movie. And then reviews started coming in just a few days ago, and my anticipation for this one took a precipitous drop. Our own Chris Bumbray called it “awful” in his 4/10 review. As with all movies, I will assess this one for myself as I already have my ticket in hand for tonight and will share my thoughts in our Saturday box office update.

The Exorcist: Believer, Ellen Burstyn

So to get down to the dollars and cents of it all, The Exorcist: Believer is primed to have the best opening of the franchise, which isn’t a hard task when you realize the 1973 original took in $11 million in its opening, 1977’s Exorcist II: The Heretic opened with $6.7 million, Exorcist III saw a $9.3 million opening while prequel film Exorcist: The Beginning directed by Renny Harlin saw an $18 million debut in 2004 after the studio decided to scrap Paul Schrader’s already completed Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist which they would subsequently release a year later to a limited number of theaters where it only made $140,703 in its opening. 

So where does that put us for this latest take of demon possession? Tracking has the film at a $30-$36 million debut, but the question is: will those horrific reviews see audiences decide to skip this one? I think horror films are critic-proof in their first week of release as genre fans always enjoy a new scary tale in a darkened theater, so I can see this one getting to its $30 million debut, but if the movie truly is as bad as nearly every critic says it is, that combined with the Taylor Swift movie will see this one have a catastrophic second week. Something David Gordon Green is used to as his last film, Halloween Ends, suffered an 80% decline in its second weekend.

The remainder of the top five should see all titles simply shift down a spot, as Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie should see a relatively small drop and come in around the $15 million mark, while Saw X could see a decent hold if audiences see the solid reviews and word of mouth this tenth film in the franchise has earned which could propel it to a $10 million second weekend. On the other hand, the Creator will likely suffer a larger drop as general audiences seemed to be a bit bored with the John David Washington-fronted Sci-Fi film. I wouldn’t expect much more than a $6 million finish. Spot five will be a toss-up between the Duck Dynasty faith-based film The Blind and the Conjuring Universe The Nun II. I will give the edge to The Nun II as that film has had solid legs since its release and should hold on throughout October.

The only other release of note is the 30th-anniversary re-release of Hocus Pocus, which is seeing a screen count in the 1400 range and could definitely crack the top ten as nostalgia can garner some strong numbers. Despite being able to watch the film on Disney+, there is something magical about seeing a classic film on the big screen. 

Do the horrible reviews for Exorcist: Believer put a damper on your excitement for the film or will you let your own eyes be the judge? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check back on Saturday when we have a brief update on where the weekend numbers are heading. 


  1. The Exorcist: Believer $30 Million
  2. Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie $15 Million
  3. Saw X $10 Million
  4. The Creator $6 Million
  5. The Nun II $3.5 Million

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