7 Highest-Grossing Halloween Movies of All Time – MovieWeb

Holiday-season films bring in a lot of revenue for film studios, so we made a list of the 7 highest-grossing Halloween movies of all time.
There are two holidays that are usually the peak time for movies to be released or rewatched: Christmas and Halloween. The fall and early-winter seasons are probably the most profitable time for the film industry and typically give us some of the most well-known and beloved films in history. Halloween as a holiday has been linked to all things scary, creepy, and, occasionally, cute, which is usually dependent on how many kids are around you. But it has most importantly been, unsurprisingly, linked to horror movies, and while Christmas movies are more easily identifiable (unless you consider Die Hard a Christmas movie), what exactly makes a Halloween movie is more nuanced.
Horror has become an extremely successful genre in the film industry that can produce massively successful franchises along with developing cult followings. They bring in a high return for studios, especially considering how little is needed to actually make them most of the time. People simply like to be scared, and it's much more than just for fun. A psychological theory, Excitation Transfer Theory, explains that it stimulates elevated levels of arousal (via VeryWell Mind).
But are all horror movies Halloween movies? They both aim for the same goal and rely on the Excitation Transfer Theory. But there are a small group of horror movies that take place around other major holidays, like Christmas, which might make them more Christmas movies. This leads to the argument that if the movie takes place during Halloween, then it is indeed a Halloween movie, but that eliminates some of the best movies to watch around the fall holiday, like The Nightmare Before Christmas. So, when making the list of the highest-grossing Halloween movies, we took into account only one major factor: if the movie, horror or otherwise, was released in the fall before Halloween, then it would've been released with the intention of being watched on October 31st. Without further ado,, these are the highest-grossing Halloween movies of all time.
There are obviously some movies that we can't ignore just because we chose to only list movies released during the Halloween season. These three movies not only brought in the big bucks, but also provide a fun watch for the spooky time of years: Ghostbusters ($295.2 million), The Conjuring ($319.5 million), and The Exorcist ($441.3 million).
Related: 12 Halloween Movies about Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches
It wouldn't be Halloween without the cult classic slasher movie Halloween, with the scream queen herself Jamie Lee Curtis. The original movie, directed by John Carpenter, was released back in 1978, but didn't get this sequel with the same name until 40 years later in 2018. The movie was made with just roughly $15 million and grossed $255.6 million total at the box office, effectively marking the biggest debut for Blumhouse Productions and the highest-grossing film in the entire Halloween franchise.
The Annabelle doll has given people the creeps since it made its first brief appearance in 2013's The Conjuring, but following its success, a film was made that would focus solely on the cursed Annabelle doll in 2014. The movie and the doll are based on a real-life doll that's believed to be possessed by a demon that famously sat in the Warren Occult Museum in a case that read "Do Not Touch," until 2019 when the Museum was permanently closed. The real-life Annabelle doll is just a regular-looking raggedy Anne doll, the movie has gone a good job terrifying audiences of dolls similarly to Child's Play once did. Annabelle grossed over $250 million dollars at the box office and had the biggest opening weekend for a horror movie in 2014.
Not every Halloween movie needs to be scary, and there have to be movies parents can take their kids to during the Halloween season. And when one of the best Halloween kids movies, Hotel Transylvania, was released it succeeded beyond what anyone at Sony Pictures Animation could've imagined for the film. The movie, starring Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, made over $40 million domestically in its opening weekend, making it the highest-grossing debut for Sony Pictures, a record it would hold until the release of its sequel. In the end, the film grossed $358.4 million at the box office.
The Nun was released as the fifth installment to the Conjuring universe and prequel to The Conjuring 2 in 2018. With a budget of just $22 million, the film was projected to gross roughly $32-37 million in its opening weekend, but in just its first day it grossed $22 million, the highest for any Conjuring film. By the end of its opening weekend, the movie grossed over $53 million and, in the end, it grossed $365.6 million in total globally.
Related: The Best Non-Scary Movies to Watch Around Halloween
The second and final part of It, arguably the most famous work from Stephen King, was released in 2019 as It: Chapter 2. The movie was projected to make between $90-100 million in its opening weekend, but just barely fulfilled expectations, with over $91 million. The blame for the film just barely staying afloat was given to mixed critic reviews and the movie's long run time (at nearly three hours). Even still, the film still had the fifth-highest opening weekend for a rated-R film and grossed a total of $473.1 million.
Hotel Transylvania 2, like its predecessor, beat out the original predictions for the film's opening weekend in 2015. Additionally, it became Sony Picture Animations highest-grossing film worldwide, with a grossing of $478.8 million at the box office. Which is quite the feat when you consider that most sequels rarely ever match up, let alone surpass, the original. The movie would hold the record until 2018 when it was beaten by, once again, its own sequel (that wasn't released in during the Halloween season).
Now finally, the highest-grossing Halloween film is none other than It, the first film adaptation of Stephen King's 1986 book of the same name. The film was released in 2017, but the book also had a widely known miniseries adaption in 1990, with Tim Curry starring as the infamous Pennywise. The film adaptation grossed a whopping $701.8 million globally and cemented itself as the biggest theatrical debut in horror movie history, highest-grossing horror movie in unadjusted worldwide gross, and the largest opening for a rated-R horror movie. It placed fifth on Deadline Hollywood's list of 2017's Most Valuable Blockbusters. To date, It is the highest-grossing Stephen King film ever worldwide, but it should be noted that it's believed the film could've had an even greater opening had it not been for Hurricane Irma.
Fiction writer mainly interested in the horror/thriller genre with ambitions of creating my own films and TV shows.

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