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Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton’s ‘Freaky’ rules box office with $3.7 mn debut

Freaky, a body-swap horror movie from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions, slashed its box office competition, debuting to $3.7 million over the weekend.

In the coronavirus era, when nearly every movie scheduled for theatrical release has been postponed, those ticket sales were easily enough to nab first place on US charts. The film played on 2,472 screens in North America. Overseas, Freaky grossed $1.9 million from 20 international markets for a global haul of $5.6 million.

Freaky stars Vince Vaughn as a savage serial killer and Kathryn Newton as an under-the-radar high school teen, who inadvertently switch bodies on Friday the 13th. Christopher Landon, who wrote Disturbia, three Paranormal Activity sequels and directed Happy Death Day, directed the R-rated thriller. The movie, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews, cost $6 million to make.

“It’s going to be very profitable,” said analyst David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “With the pandemic surging and additional US theaters closing, this is a good opening.”

Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, said Freaky should have a long life in theaters since it won’t have much competition. That’s been the case with many pandemic-era releases.

“It’ll have much longer legs than the horror genre might normally produce,” Orr said. He praised the studio’s collaboration Blumhouse, known for making thrillers with responsible budgets. “Christopher Landon has an amazing touch for these films,” Orr adds. “He can blend horror and comedy like no other.”

Compared to rival studios, Universal has been active in releasing movies during the pandemic, largely because of a deal it forged with AMC Theatres.

“New content drives the theatrical experience,” Universal’s Orr said. “We’re pleased we’ve been able to support exhibition the way we have.”

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