- Devil box office: Coproduced by M. Night Shyamalan, John Erick Dowdle’s low-budget horror thriller had an unimpressive domestic debut. And so did Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck’s computer-animated Alpha and Omega.
- In other box office news, David Slade’s romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has passed the $300 million milestone in the domestic market while James Cameron’s Avatar rerelease has passed … the $10 million mark.
Devil box office: Coproduced by M. Night Shyamalan, low-budget horror thriller has underwhelming opening
Sept. 17–19 weekend box office (cont.): Trailing the Ben Affleck heist thriller The Town ($23.8 million) and the Emma Stone romantic teen comedy Easy A ($17.7 million), Universal Pictures’ critically lambasted supernatural horror thriller Devil debuted in North America (U.S. and Canada only) with an underwhelming $12.3 million from 2,809 venues as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
The silver lining: Directed by John Erick Dowdle, and produced by Sam Mercer and M. Night Shyamalan (who also wrote the screen story on which the movie is based), Devil reportedly cost a mere $10 million.
Just bear in mind that the production budget figure doesn’t account for marketing and distribution expenses, which likely were (far?) higher than those of low-budget fare lacking major names and/or a big-studio distributor.
Devil movie cast
In the Devil cast: Chris Messina, Logan Marshall-Green, Geoffrey Arend, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O’Hara, Bokeem Woodbine, Matt Craven, and Jacob Vargas.
Brian Nelson was credited for the final screenplay about a group of people (among them, the devil itself) trapped in an increasingly bloodier elevator.
M. Night Shyamalan’s story is supposed to have been inspired by Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel Ten Little Niggers (later, Ten Little Indians)*, most notably transferred to the screen – as And Then There Were None (the U.S. print title) – in 1945. René Clair directed an ensemble that included Barry Fitzgerald, Louis Hayward, Walter Huston, June Duprez, Judith Anderson, and Roland Young.
* Agatha Christie’s novel has striking similarities to the plot of Roy William Neill’s 1934 thriller The 9th Guest, based on a 1930 play by Owen Davis, itself from the 1930 novel The Invisible Host, written by the husband-and-wife team of Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning.
Profitable supernatural thriller?
Update: The M. Night Shyamalan-(co)produced Devil ultimately collected a mediocre $33.6 million domestically and an even more mediocre $29.1 million internationally. Worldwide total: $62.7 million.
However modest, that global cume was likely enough for the low-budget horror thriller to turn out a profit.
Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($4.5 million), Russia/CIS ($2.3 million), and Mexico ($2.2 million).
Computer-animated Alpha and Omega disappoints
For the record, rounding out the Top Five movies on this past weekend’s domestic box office chart were the following:
- At. no. 4, Paul W. S. Anderson’s dystopian actioner Resident Evil: Afterlife grossed $10 million (down a whopping 63 percent on its second weekend). Cume: $43.9 million. Cast: Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter.
- At no. 5, Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck’s computer-animated comedy-drama Alpha and Omega debuted with a mediocre $9.1 million from 2,625 venues. Voice cast: Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere. Distributor: Lionsgate. Budget: $20 million.
Eclipse passes $300 million while Avatar passes … $10 million
Lastly, a few words about two of 2010’s biggest box office hits: Summit Entertainment’s romantic fantasy The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and 20th Century Fox’s environmentally conscious futurist fantasy Avatar.
Directed by David Slade, and starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, Eclipse has finally passed the $300 million milestone in the domestic market. Total after 12 weekends: $300.1 million.
Written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and three-time Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, 1986; etc.), Avatar: Special Edition, the eagerly anticipated rerelease of Cameron’s 3D mega-blockbuster, has finally passed the … $10 million mark domestically. That took place last Thursday; the current Special Edition cume stands at $10.3 million after four weekends.
Fox suits surely aren’t losing any sleep over the abysmal late summer underperformance of their early 2010 fave, but have no doubt that some big, big egos have been dealt a bad, bad blow.
Really, just a couple of months ago who could have guessed that the Avatar rerelease would open behind Piranha 3D – on its second weekend out?
“Devil Box Office: Latest M. Night Shyamalan Letdown” notes
Unless otherwise noted, “Devil Box Office: Latest M. Night Shyamalan Letdown” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Devil, Alpha and Omega, Avatar, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Jenny O’Hara Devil movie image: Universal Pictures.
Alpha and Omega movie image: Lionsgate.
“Devil Box Office: Latest M. Night Shyamalan Letdown” last updated in October 2023.