To the surprise of everyone who goes to the movies or is in the movie industry, ‘The Devil Inside’ has now achieved the record for the biggest opening revenues for the first weekend of a new year. With earnings of $34.5 million, it knocked off Tom Cruise’s mega film ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ from the number one spot. ‘The Devil Inside’ also achieved third biggest January opening for a movie behind ‘Cloverfield’ ($40.1 million) and the 1997 reissue of ‘Star Wars’ ($35.9 million) which were both released in late January.
Paramount’s President of Domestic Marketing and Distribution, Megan Colligan, attributes the film’s success on its marketing campaign which focused on making the film seem realistic by using the found footage technique made popular by the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise. (On a side note, the producer of ‘The Devil Inside’, Steven Schneider, also happens to be the producer for the ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies.) The slogan “the film the Vatican doesn’t want you to see” help spur the curiosity of movie goers as well as ad placements on well-established horror programs such as ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘American Horror Story’. They even released an iPad/iPhone app to “test to find out how possessed you are” which would then surprise fans with a chilling scene from the film.” Colligan stated, “The campaign was very scary and it was intended to push the envelope.”
Paramount acquired the movie for only $1 million and estimated that it would probably take in only $8-$10 million for the weekend. Rival studios had it grossing up to $19 million. The movie defied them all earning $2 million from midnight showings alone!
Despite the positive revenue the film has obtained, movie goers and critics have nothing but negatives. At some showings, the audiences even booed the screen! Our own Michelle Ealey advised readers to save their money in her review of ‘The Devil Inside’. Critics seem to agree as below are some of the reviews that were obtained by THR:
Los Angeles Times: “The film is being released under Paramount’s low-budget Insurge Pictures banner, and its filmmakers apparently could not afford an ending. The story doesn’t climax or resolve so much as just stop — a recruited audience member at a local premiere/critics preview was overheard saying, ‘That was it?’”
HitFix: “The Devil Inside is an insidious kind of terrible movie, a movie that is simply low-grade bad for most of its thankfully brief running time before offering up an ending so openly contemptuous of the audience as to feel like a prank. Short version of this review: nope. Don’t see it.”
Chicago Tribune: “The words, somber and undeniably true, hit the screen: ‘The Vatican did not endorse this film nor aid in its completion.’ No, the Holy See apparently is waiting to back an exorcism movie that’s a little less hilariously lame.”
It’s been reported that ‘The Devil Inside’ received an “F” Cinema Score which indicates what the average movie goer thought of the film. From the box office takes, it’s obvious that many people don’t read the reviews before going to see a movie on its opening weekend.
Fans who are looking for a good demonic possession fix may have fallen for the movie’s hype this first weekend, but the real test of the movie’s durability will be next week after all the word of mouth reviews have spread. But after all is said and done, ‘The Devil Inside’ has already possessed Paramount with a bona fide moneymaker.
Were you one of the ones that contributed towards the record breaking achievement of ‘The Devil Inside?’ What did you think of the movie?