FilmDistrict’s eagerly awaited Insidious: Chapter 2 kicked off on Thursday the 12th of September – taking in an estimated US$ 1.5 million in midnight showings.
Directed by James Wan with a total budget of only US$ 5 million, the film was expected to earn between US$ 32 million to US$ 40 million during its first weekend – which contained the ominous, and potentially lucrative “Friday the 13th” date. It was also expected to hit the top spot at the box office.
In 2010, the inaugural Insidious film debuted at US$ 13 million before going on to make over $54 million at the box office – a resounding success for a film which only cost US$ 1.5 million to make.
Filming in familiar territory
The horror genre – and haunted house subdivision within – has proved fertile for Australian filmmaker James Wan.
What’s more Wan, and his actor-screenwriter, and creative partner, Leigh Whannell, are no strangers to box-office fortune. Their debut feature, 2004′s Saw, launched a grisly movement, and netted US$ 103,096,345 in worldwide revenues.
Saw ultimately became part of a seven part series – with films being released on the Friday before Halloween every October from 2004 and 2010. Various directors and screenwriters took over the mantle from Wan and Whannel – but both remained a part of the franchise as Executive Producers.
The worldwide revenue of the Saw franchise is estimated at US$ 953,421,276.
Wan’s low-budget but big thrill horrors “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” have also earned him generally favorable reviews from the film community and a legion of committed movie-goers. Combined, both films have grossed over US$ 350 million worldwide.
But according to many film critics, Wan’s latest effort has nothing new to offer.
Too familiar for some
Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times called the film “a mess from start to finish” and the “kind of lazy, halfhearted product that gives scary movies a bad name.”
Half-heartedness seemed to be a key element of the film’s unpopularity – and ‘lazy’ a particular buzzword. USA Today’s Claudia Puig wrote “‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ appears to be the sum of the unusable parts from James Wan’s recent haunted house feature ‘The Conjuring.’ Yes, of course it’s the sequel to 2010’s ‘Insidious,’ but it seems cobbled together from outtakes [With] nothing remotely subtle or sly about this lazy movie.”
For some, however, the film – if not quite living up to its predecessor – gave the audience some enjoyable moments. Scott Foundas of Variety concluded Insidious: Chapter 2 was a “modestly scaled and highly pleasurable sequel.”
Negative reviews aside, if the film hits its box office targets, Wan may take up the mantle again for Insidious 3.