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Why These Horror Movies Flopped at the Box Office

Why These Horror Movies Flopped at the Box Office

For much of the 21st century, Universal Pictures has struggled to turn its classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s creation, and the Wolf Man into major box office successes. Excluding the Brendan Fraser “Mummy” movies, Universal’s contemporary takes on its vintage horror characters have largely flopped. Films like “Van Helsing” were box office disappointments, and the 2017 “Mummy” remake was an outright bomb. However, the release of the 2020 film “The Invisible Man” finally provided a blueprint for making these classic monsters appealing to modern audiences. The secret? Low-budget productions. After all, these characters originally debuted in cost-effective films.

Interestingly, Universal’s next attempt at modernizing one of its iconic monsters did not follow the low-budget route. Instead, the studio produced “Renfield,” a film that combined R-rated gore with elements of action, crime thriller, and comedy. “Renfield” also came with a substantial budget of $86 million, a stark contrast to the modestly-budgeted “The Invisible Man.”

Predictably, “Renfield” turned out to be another box office failure for Universal’s monster revivals, despite featuring Nicolas Cage as Dracula. Globally, the film grossed a paltry $26.8 million. It’s evident that action-packed movies are not the ideal platform for characters like Dracula. Moreover, the promotional campaign heavily centered on Nicolas Cage, a talented actor who unfortunately hasn’t starred in a live-action film that made more than $22 million domestically since 2012. Given these factors, the box office struggles of modern Universal Monsters films persist.

Source: various sources