With the Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) horror film The Conjuring making huge business at the box office — the success of the film is highlighting just how lucrative the horror genre can be. For a film business becoming increasingly obsessed with mega-budget tent-pole films, releasing a good horror film into theaters can be like striking gold when it comes to the film studios.
Look no further than the horror film taking the box office by storm presently: The Conjuring was made on a budget of only $20 million, making that money back and then some after only one weekend in theaters. Similarly, Universal’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) The Purge, released in early June, made $78 million worldwide on a budget of only $3 million. That number means The Purge made 25 times its budget and had already made 5 times its budget in its opening weekend, putting it way ahead of over every other film this summer when it came down to return on investment.
The Conjuring might also point towards a growing trend when it comes to horror films: a return to old-school, relatively nonviolent horror. Although The Purge doesn’t follow this trend, it looks like the upcoming slate of films, along with The Conjuring, show a return to creepiness over blood — which is rather ironic because James Wan, the director of The Conjuring, was also the director of Saw.
Nonetheless, we’ll soon have a spate of horror films sure to scare up big numbers with creepy scares over severed limbs. On September 13 (Friday the 13th in case you wanted to know), James Wan will already be coming out with a new film, Insidious: Chapter 2, to hopefully follow up on the success of The Conjuring. The sequel to 2010′s Insidious, which made $97 million on a $1.5 million budget, the film will continue on from were the first ended. Then, on October 18, we’ll see the newest screen adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie, this time directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role.
So with all of this discussion of lucrative horror films, what are the most successful supernatural horror films of all time? Using this Bloomberg list, here are the top 9 most successful supernatural horror films of all time, unadjusted for inflation and based on lifetime ticket sales that may include re-release.