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"M3GAN" becomes latest box office horror hit

Data: Box Office Mojo; Table: Dani Alberti/Axios Visuals
Data: Box Office Mojo; Table: Dani Alberti/Axios Visuals

"M3GAN" was the latest horror film to over-perform at the box office as the industry looks for anything that can reliably bring people to the theater.

Why it matters: "M3GAN" was a co-production between James Wan's Atomic Monster and Jason Blum's Blumhouse, two horror giants that are set to merge this year.

  • The film is already staking its claim to be among the best performers in that genre when 2023 is over.

By the numbers: "M3GAN" was the first movie to surpass $30 million in the first week of the new year since 2012’s "The Devil Inside" ($33.7 million).

  • It's off to a better start than all but one of last year's top-grossing horror films. "Halloween Ends" opened north of $40 million last October.
  • Like most horror films, particularly those produced by Blumhouse, "M3GAN" has already turned a profit, having been made on a $12 million budget.

The big picture: As we wrote last year, the Atomic Monster-Blumhouse tie-up figures to create its own monster within the horror genre, boosting Universal's output in the process.

  • Along with Universal, horror has benefitted rival Paramount with films like "A Quiet Place II" and "Smile," which were the top-grossing horror movies of 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The intrigue: Paramount and Universal are frequent names thrown out in regard to M&A activity, with Paramount long being seen as a takeover target and Universal's parent, Comcast, as a buyer.

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