If you’ve been keeping an eye on the box office, then you’ve probably heard about M3GAN—one of the biggest box office surprises in the last few years. From the first trailers, M3GAN seemed just another killer doll movie. So, what made it shatter box-office expectations? Let’s take a closer look at this unexpected hit.
‘M3GAN’ Becomes A Stand-Out Hit
Since Child’s Play premiered in 1988, killer dolls have been a staple in the horror genre. Every few years, we’re introduced to a new homicidal toy, but only a few have managed to earn a place in pop culture. However, it looks like M3GAN is on track to become the latest killer doll franchise.
Per CinemaBlend, M3GAN nearly doubled box office predictions on its opening weekend. While experts predicted it could gross as little as $15 million during its opening weekend, it managed to break $30 million. For a film produced on a $12 million budget, that’s not too bad. In fact, if it hadn’t been up against cinematic goliath Avatar: The Way of Water, it would have easily dominated the box office that weekend.
Expectations were undoubtedly low leading up to M3GAN’s premiere. January is often described as a “dump month” in the film industry. Due to a slowdown in movie-theater traffic, studios usually release films that they predict are not going to turn the biggest profit anyway. Horror films that weren’t promising enough for an autumn release usually hit theaters in January or February.
Then there’s the fact that critics usually underestimate horror films. In the horror genre, trope-heavy plots (like those involving killer dolls) are almost automatically dismissed.
How ‘M3GAN’ Is Different
Honestly, M3GAN can thank social media for its unexpected success. After the film’s first trailer dropped, social media platforms instantly latched on to a clip of M3gan dancing. The clip ended up becoming a viral meme weeks before the film’s actual premiere date.
It seemed like people were interested in the film because it looked so campy. It’s hard to say if the bulk of prospective viewers were going in with high hopes or if it was all in the name of keeping the joke going. Whatever it was that brought them to theaters, viewers quickly found that the movie was far more comedic and self-aware than they could have predicted. It turned out that the film’s makers were very much in on the joke.
Given the early numbers, it looks like M3GAN was the perfect recipe for a winter sleeper hit. Per Deadline, a sequel to the outrageous horror film is already in the works. It’s clear audiences haven’t seen the last of this murderous dancing doll.