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The movie, directed by Rob Savage and produced by 21 Laps, the banner behind Stranger Things, had a surprisingly muscular test screening in December that made studio executives and producers reconsider their release strategy. (They also showed the movie to King, along with the new plans, who gave them a thumbs-up.)
The horror thriller will now open in theaters June 2.
The move also has echoes of what occurred with Smile, the horror movie directed by Parker Finn that was originally intended for Paramount+, but a strong test screening altered its destiny. The movie, made for only $17 million, received a theatrical release from Paramount last fall and became one of the standard-bearers for the latest rise of horror when it grossed over $216 million worldwide.
Horror emerged during the pandemic as the only genre other than superheroes that drew audiences into the theaters. M3GAN, released by Universal, is the latest movie overperforming at the box office and is expected to cross the $100 million worldwide mark any day. A sequel has been fast-tracked.
Disney units had some hits of their own that notched high-water marks in the scary movie space. Barbarian, from by 20th Century and partner New Regency, which cost less than $10 million, earned over $40 million domestically while earning rave reviews for its director, Zach Cregger. The more art house than grindhouse thriller The Menu, made by Searchlight, is still in release and has grossed $77 million globally to date.
Boogeyman is based on a rather grim story featured in King’s 1978 horror anthology, Night Shift. The movie version, per the studio, centers on a 16-year-old and her younger sister, both still reeling from the death of their mother, who are targeted by a supernatural entity after their father, a psychologist, has an encounter with a desperate patient in their house. Chris Messina, Sophie Thatcher, Vivien Lyra Blair, David Dastmalchian, Marin Ireland and Madison Hu star.
The movie shot in New Orleans in winter of 2022 and is produced by 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who worked on the screenplay along with Mark Heyman, and Emily Morris are executive producers.
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