CATEGORIES Movie NewsTo no one's surprise, the remake of "The Evil Dead" opened at No. 1 this weekend, scaring up an estimated $26 million from horror film fans. Still, that's a remarkable number, considering that its about 11 times what the 1981 "Evil Dead" earned over its entire domestic theatrical run. In general, it's an impressive number considering that the entire original "Evil Dead" trilogy (including 1987's "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" and 1993's "Army of Darkness") was not widely popular; all three movies together grossed about $6 million less over their lifetimes than the remake earned in three days.
Nonetheless, considering that Sam Raimi was a barely-known filmmaker when he directed the first three movies on the cheap, the 'Evil Dead' films have had a surprisingly long and influential afterlife. The 1981 film launched the careers of Raimi (who became known as the director of the blockbuster "Spider-Man" trilogy that starred Tobey Maguire), character actor Bruce Campbell, and longtime Raimi producer Rob Tapert (all three men have a production credit on the 2013 film, though it was directed and co-written by newcomer Fede Alvarez), as well as future Oscar-winning director Joel Coen, who served as an assistant editor on the original "Evil Dead." Moreover, its innovative camera work and special effects influenced a generation of directors.
By the time of the remake, 30 years of horror filmmakers and fans had grown up with those innovations, and with cabin-in-the-woods chillers. So an audience was primed to return to the source -- or visit it for the first time.
Here's an index of figures, many of them from Box Office Mojo, tracing how the franchise grew from micro-budgeted fringe fare to mainstream blockbuster status.
Budget of the original 1981 "Evil Dead": $350,000
Budget of the new "Evil Dead": $17 million
Lifetime gross (domestic) of the 1981 "Evil Dead": $2.4 million
Lifetime gross (domestic) of the "Evil Dead" trilogy: $19.8 million
Opening weekend estimated gross (domestic) of the 2013 "Evil Dead": $26 million
Opening weekend estimated gross (foreign) of the 2013 "Evil Dead": $4.5 million
Largest previous gross (domestic) of an "Evil Dead" movie: $11.5 million ("Army of Darkness")
Largest previous opening weekend (domestic) of an "Evil Dead" movie: $4.4 million ("Army of Darkness")
Gross (domestic) of the "Evil Dead" trilogy, adjusted for inflation: $40.7 million
Number of then-current TV regulars appearing in the 1981 "Evil Dead": 0
Number of current TV regulars in the 2013 "Evil Dead": 2 (Jane Levy of "Suburgatory," Jessica Lucas of "Cult")
Gross to date (domestic) of Sam Raimi's other current movie, "Oz the Great and Powerful": $212.8 million
Number of screenwriters on the 1981 "Evil Dead": 1 (Sam Raimi)
Number of screenwriters on the 2013 remake: 3 (Fede Alvarez, Diablo Cody, and Rodo Sayagues)
Number of projects (movies, TV episodes) on which Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell have collaborated: 86
Widest previous release (domestic) for an "Evil Dead" film: 1,391 screens ("Army of Darkness")
Current release (domestic) of "Evil Dead": 3,025 screens
Gallons of fake blood in the original "Evil Dead": 200 to 300
Gallons of fake blood in the remake: More than 50,000