It’s been an amazing year for the horror genre so far. Although August was a lighter month for theatrical releases, an old friend of the genre, Esther, is back to liven up the box office for Orphan: first murder. The prequel to the 2009 cult classic was released this weekend on Paramount+ and every digital service imaginable, but Paramount also gave the film a small theatrical release. In only 498 rooms, First murder earned $1.67 million in its bloodthirsty first weekend.
While that might seem like a small number, it wouldn’t be fair to compare this prequel to many major horror releases or its shocking debut. Like most modern horror films, the original Orphan received a full theatrical release in 3,743 theaters and grossed $12.8 million in its opening weekend. It’s hard to believe that First murder wouldn’t have at least matched that number had it received a full theatrical release. Especially given the popularity of the original. Orphan would earn $77.9 million and First murder currently sits at $2.19 million at the worldwide box office. That total doesn’t include what the prequel did on home rental services like VUDU.
There are a lot of things that can be taken from these numbers. Mainly the fact that while you could watch this movie from the comfort of your own home, audiences were ready to see this killer horror story in theaters. Esther is arguably on the Mount Rushmore of modern horror villains and this box office result should at least tell you how high quality the first movie was. However, First murder was also helped by the fact that it got excellent word-of-mouth. As it stands, this delightfully entertaining prequel has been better received and reviewed than the original. Orphan.
First murder did the impossible. It took the first movie’s winning formula and turned it on its head. Orphan is best known for its incredibly memorable twist, and while this prequel doesn’t top what was done in that film, it does feature another completely insane twist that will make your stomach ache. This movie wasn’t just your average horror sequel that was only meant to be a cash grab, it actually gave Esther a story worth killing for. of suspense, and it frighteningly recontextualizes the events of Orphan. However, the icing on this sweet horror cake is Isabelle Fuhrman who once again gives another jaw-dropping and chilling performance as Esther.
All this is reflected in First murderat the box office and makes you wonder if Paramount is kicking itself for making a hybrid version of it. Esther always has a willing audience. She’s not a lucrative like Ghostface or Michael Myers, but she’s almost as terrifying as those icons. It will be interesting to see how First murder occurs in the coming weeks and, if a Orphan 3 arrives, hopefully Paramount will see Esther’s potential future at the box office. For now, you can happily celebrate Esther’s deranged return by watching Orphan: first murder in cinemas, on Paramount+ or wherever you buy your digital movies.
Check out the trailer for First murder below: