The Big Picture
- Universal’s The Exorcist: Believer has crossed the $50 million mark globally in just five days despite terrible reviews, prompting industry anticipation for its second weekend performance.
- Directed by David Gordon Green, The Exorcist: Believer is a direct sequel to the iconic film from 50 years ago, and is expected to be the first installment in a trilogy.
- The poor box office performance of the film can be largely attributed to the negative reception it received from critics, with a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a disappointing audience score.
After an underwhelming opening weekend haul that resulted in a mirthless top-place finish, Universal’s The Exorcist: Believer has passed its first major milestone at the global box office. The legacy sequel crept past the $50 million mark globally in five days of release, as the industry waits to observe just how badly it’ll be impacted in its second weekend. Weekend two will be an acid test for the film, which has been on the back-foot from day one thanks to some truly terrible reviews.
Directed by David Gordon Green, who most recently helmed a trio of Halloween movies for Universal and Blumhouse, The Exorcist: Believer serves as a direct sequel to The Exorcist, which debuted to record-breaking numbers exactly 50 years ago.
The movie is supposed to spawn a trilogy of its own, with a direct follow-up, titled The Exorcist: Deceiver, already lined up for release in 2025. But Universal’s elaborate plans — the studio reportedly secured the rights to the franchise for $400 million — got off to an unsteady start this past weekend, when the movie debuted to $26 million domestically and $45 million worldwide. These figures were more in line with the debuts that recent mid-level horror entries such as Evil Dead Rise and Smile delivered than the $76 million that Green’s first Halloween reboot grossed in its opening weekend back in 2018. It bears mentioning that The Exorcist: Believer isn’t merely a run-of-the-mill horror sequel, but a movie that was projected as the direct sequel to one of the most highly regarded films in history.
Directed by the late, great William Friedkin, The Exorcist was a major critical and commercial success. The film grossed a then-record $441 million worldwide, and scored 10 Oscar nominations. It also earned the unique distinction of becoming the first horror movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. Incidentally, Friedkin’s final film, the courtroom drama The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, was released digitally the same day that The Exorcist: Believer debuted in theaters.
The Film’s Poor Reviews Might Have Something to Do with This
The movie brings back the star of the original film, Ellen Burstyn, alongside series newcomer Leslie Odom Jr. The film’s financial underperformance can majorly be attributed to the toxic reviews that it earned heading into its release. While Green’s last two Halloween movies weren’t exactly well-received either, The Exorcist: Believer is currently sitting at a “rotten” 23% score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Audience reception hasn’t been very promising either; the film managed only a C CinemaScore from opening day crowds, while Collider’s Chase Hutchinson called it a “soulless horror sequel” in his review. You can watch The Exorcist: Believer in theaters, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.