WRONG TURN Proves An Aussie Box Office Hit!
Rialto Distribution’s release WRONG TURN (2021), the seventh instalment in the WRONG TURN film franchise and refresh of the brand, has proven to be a hit among Aussie cinemagoers, earning over $600k at the Australian box office in its opening week!
WRONG TURN follows a group of six friends hiking the Appalachian Trail who get hunted by The Foundation – a cloistered community of settlers who will do anything to protect their existence from outside influences. Maintaining its “lost in the woods” premise but with a twist, the film is a timely horror-thriller that not only satiates its long-time fanbase but appeals to a younger, more socially-conscious demographic.
The film’s opening weekend takings surpassed 40% of Hoyts’ revenue, as well as 25% of Event Cinemas. Perhaps more surprising, however, is its $40K haul at just three national Australia’s Drive-ins, including Blacktown (NSW), where it earned three times more than films from major studios.
THE WRETCHED, distributed in the United States by IFC Midnight, saw similar success on the American Drive-in circuit last year. An independent genre film released during the pandemic that tactfully geared its promotional assets toward the retro nature of outdoor cinema. Pulling $70K from 12 Drive-ins across the States on its first weekend, THE WRETCHED became the number-one movie due to a depletion of mainstream competition and consequential increase in Drive-in theatre screenings – a socially-distanced way to cinema-go, by nature.
Championed by genre film aficionados, the circumstances around THE WRETCHED and WRONG TURN’s high box-office takings perhaps signal a return to the glory days of watching horror films at the drive-ins. Not only that, they demonstrate that the loyalty of horror fans in itself can generate enough buzz around new release films to give them the accolades they deserve – no matter what obstacles may encounter.
Written by Alan B McElroy, the screenwriter of the original film of the franchise, WRONG TURN is a gritty slasher film to its core. It does, however, features some surprising divergence from its core premise by blurring its typically-distinct lines between protagonists and antagonists. Since the release of the original WRONG TURN film in 2003, horror has evolved – and so has its audience. Gone are the days where horror is seen as a genre devoted to cheap thrills and grizzly tales ending in senseless bloodshed; it has been utilised in recent years as a tool to depict and hyperbolise, for good or bad, the zeitgeist of society and reflect the values of its creators and viewers.
“It felt appropriate to tap into the ‘social horror’ genre that modern classics like GET OUT helped pioneer” said producer Robert Kulzer. “Horror audiences are super smart and want something new. With this new Wrong Turn, we wanted to leave audiences thinking and talking.”
In this sense, WRONG TURN has not only appealed to its original and loyal audience by creating a new, but deeply familiar, film – it has also grown with them and, in doing so, attracted a newer, fresher viewer. In catering to this large audience of both original fanbase and the perhaps more socially-conscious audience, WRONG TURN has positioned itself in the sweetest spot between two worlds to secure its mighty box office taking.
Now more than ever, this ever-growing horror and genre audience is proving itself to be the most devoted and most valuable fanbase there is: rain, hail or deadly pandemic, genre fans will be there to keep the horror industry afloat!