In another example of how streaming success doesn’t have to come at the expense of box office glory, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is Peacock’s most-watched film or television show within the first five days of availability, according to the streamer. While no raw viewership numbers have been offered up, whatever milestone the Blumhouse horror movie achieved came alongside a sky-high $80 million domestic and $133 million global opening weekend.
The $20 million, PG-13 adaptation of Scott Cawthon’s popular video game series surpassed five-day viewership totals for “Halloween Ends” (which also got a day-and-date release with Peacock and in theaters), “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (which arrived on Peacock following $1.4 billion in global grosses and a conventional post-theatrical VOD/EST/DVD window) the episodic “Bel-Air” television show and “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” miniseries event.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s,” which earned another $4 million domestically on Monday, shattered records and milestones over the course of its Fri-Sun launch. The Emma Tammi-directed feature nabbed the fifth-biggest movie from a solo female director – behind “Barbie,” “Wonder Woman,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Black Widow,” while notching Blumhouse’s biggest launch ever. It earned one of the biggest Fri-Sun opening weekends ever – sans inflation – for a horror movie behind only Warner Bros. and New Line’s “It” ($123 million), WBD and New Line’s “It Chapter 2” ($89 million) and – if you count them – Universal’s own “Jurassic World” trilogy.
That it did all this despite being available on Peacock concurrently shows either A) audiences will see the movie they want to see in theaters when it’s in theaters even if it’s available at home or B) Peacock hasn’t made enough of a dent in terms of market share to do damage to theatrical releases. Either way, NBCUniversal gets to boast of both streaming success and box office triumph with neither exhibition platform doing any real damage to the other.
Broadly speaking, the lesson of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is to at least try and make new franchises based on new or newer IP that is targeted specifically at today’s kids. Whether it’s “Paw Patrol” or “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” the films succeeded because they weren’t reliant on today’s kids being excited about franchises and brands that once thrilled their parents (“Matrix Resurrections”), grandparents (“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”) or great-grandparents (“The Exorcist: Believer”).
And if you have a movie that consumers are excited to see theatrically, even offering it free of charge to streaming subscribers won’t do much damage to the theatrical bottom line.