The 10 Highest Grossing Horror Franchises of All Time

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | October 21, 2012 |


The fourth Paranormal Activity movie dominated the box office this weekend, as it has one weekend in October for the previous three years. The franchise, of course, supplanted the Saw franchise as the Halloween horror franchise to see, but it's showing signs of fatigue, as the $30 million opening is down from the $52 million opening of the third film and even the $40 million opening of the second film. Looks like Hollywood is going to need a new horror franchise for October 2013. Will it be the unexpectedly strong Sinister, which added another $9 million to bring its total to $31 million? Those aren't blockbuster numbers, but considering the $3 million budget, it's certainly sequel numbers. Nevertheless, a Sinister franchise is unlikely to ever crack the top ten horror franchises of all time, worldwide.

I actually did two lists here because they differ depending on what you consider a horror movie. Here's the 10 Highest Grossing Horror Movie Franchises for pure Boogeyman killer horror movies. (Grosses are Worldwide.)

10. Grudge -- $258 million
9. Blair Witch Project -- $296 million
8. Halloween -- $363 million
7. Ring -- $410 million
6. Nightmare on Elm Street -- $448.2 million
5. Exorcist -- $496 million
4. Final Destination -- $503 million
3. Scream -- $532 million
2. Paranormal Activity -- $575 million
1. Saw -- $862 million

If you take a broader view of what constitutes a horror movie (horror sci-fi, horror parody, vampire movie, creature feature), your list would look different. Here's the 20 Highest Grossing Horror Movie franchises if you have a liberal view of what counts as a horror movie:

20. Texas Chainsaw Massacre -- $197 million
19. Anaconda -- $207 million
18. Grudge -- $258 million
17. Blair Witch Project -- $296 million
16. Alien vs. Predator -- $301 million
15. Halloween -- $363 million
14. Ring -- $410 million
13. Blade -- $417 million
12. Nightmare on Elm Street -- $448.2 million
11. Underworld -- $448.6 million
10. Exorcist -- $496 million
9. Final Destination -- $503 million
8. Scream -- $532 million
7. Paranormal Activity -- $575 million
6. Predator -- $581 million
5. Jaws -- $737 million
4. Scary Movie -- $752 million
3. Saw -- $862 million
2. Silence of the Lambs -- $927 million
1. Alien -- $1.007 billion

Note that, if yourview of what counts as a horror movie is simply a movie that horrifies you to your core, then the Big Momma's House franchise would come in at number 15 with $310 million.

Elsewhere in the weekly box office, Argo had an exceptional hold, falling only 14 percent in its second weekend to add another $16 million to bring its 10-day total to $43 million. Thanks to great reviews and solid word of mouth, Argo could stick around in the top ten through the holiday season.

I wouldn't say the same for Alex Cross, the dreadful thriller starring Tyler Perry, which I'm giving the title of the Worst Movie of 2012 so far (and I've seen Three Stooges). The $12 million was good for number five, but the studio behind Alex Cross may already be reconsidering its planned sequel.

Meanwhile, Taken 2 is hanging in there, adding $13 million more to come in at number three, while Hotel Transylvania came in at number four with $13.2 million. The kids movie is showing strong legs, racking up $118 million so far with 10 more days to take advantage of the Halloween holiday.

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