THE BIG PICTURE
The Exorcist: Believer, the latest installment in the iconic horror franchise, sets its sights on a new generation of fans, kicking off with a Thursday preview earnings of $2.85 million. Despite some scathing reviews, the film is poised to make a splash with an opening weekend projection ranging between $30 million and $35 million. Directed by David Gordon Green, this film is the inaugural entry in a planned trilogy, unraveling a tale of two girls’ mysterious disappearance and their eerie return, setting the stage for a confrontation with malevolence.
Fifty years since the release of the groundbreaking horror classic The Exorcist, its legacy sequel, The Exorcist: Believer, is banking on attracting fresh blood to the franchise. The film collected $2.85 million during Thursday previews, commencing at 5 p.m. across slightly over 3,000 theaters in the domestic market. This figure, while marginally higher, doesn’t quite topple the $2 million preview earnings of last week’s Saw X. Nevertheless, The Exorcist: Believer is on track for an impressive opening weekend, although it remains to be seen whether it can withstand the onslaught of negative reviews. Currently, it sports a less-than-flattering “rotten” 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with Chase Hutchinson of FilmSweep deeming it a “soulless horror sequel.”
Helmed by David Gordon Green, fresh from his trilogy of Halloween films, The Exorcist: Believer aims to birth its own trilogy. Universal acquired the rights to the franchise a couple of years ago, shelling out a reported $400 million—an amount just shy of the then-record worldwide earnings of the original Exorcist, standing at a formidable $441 million. Released in 1973 and directed by the late, great William Friedkin, the film is a towering presence in the annals of horror cinema.
The Exorcist sparked a franchise that followed the all-too-familiar Hollywood pattern of delivering underwhelming sequels. John Boorman directed The Exorcist II: The Heretic in 1977, followed by William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III in 1990, and a fourth installment in 2004. Exorcist: The Beginning underwent a facelift from an already finished version directed by Paul Schrader, eventually receiving a token release a year later under the title Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. A television spinoff, also bearing the title The Exorcist, ran for two seasons from 2016 to 2017.
What Is ‘The Exorcist: Believer’ About?
Starring Leslie Odom, Jr. as Victor, The Exorcist: Believer delves into the story of two young girls—Victor’s daughter Angela and her friend Katherine—who vanish in the woods, only to reappear three days later with no recollection of their ordeal. Their harrowing experience sets off a chain of events, compelling Victor to confront the depths of evil and seek out the only person alive who has witnessed anything akin to it: Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn). In the original Exorcist film, Chris’ daughter, Regan, fell victim to the demon Pazuzu.
The Exorcist: Believer also boasts Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale, Hereditary) as Victor’s neighbor and Grammy winner Jennifer Nettles (Harriet, The Righteous Gemstones) and two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz (Fosse/Verdon, Bloodline) as the parents of Katherine, Angela’s friend. Notably, the release of The Exorcist: Believer coincides with the debut of Friedkin’s final film, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, which arrives posthumously on Paramount+ this Friday. Keep an eye on FilmSweep for more updates.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Horror Franchise Revival
What is “The Exorcist: Believer” about?
“The Exorcist: Believer” follows the story of two young girls, Angela and Katherine, who mysteriously vanish in the woods and return with no memory of their ordeal. This unsettling experience sets off a series of events, forcing Victor, played by Leslie Odom, Jr., to confront a malevolent force. He seeks the help of Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), the only person who has witnessed something similar—a reference to the original Exorcist film.
How did “The Exorcist: Believer” perform at the box office?
The movie had a Thursday preview gross of $2.85 million in over 3,000 domestic theaters. Despite mixed reviews, it is projected to open between $30 million and $35 million over the weekend.
Is “The Exorcist: Believer” part of a larger franchise?
Yes, “The Exorcist: Believer” is the latest installment in the legendary Exorcist franchise. Universal secured the rights to the franchise and intends to create a new trilogy following this film.
What is the critical reception of “The Exorcist: Believer”?
The film currently holds a “rotten” 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with some critics labeling it a “soulless horror sequel.” However, its box office performance suggests it may resonate differently with audiences.
Who are some of the key cast members in “The Exorcist: Believer”?
The film stars Leslie Odom, Jr. as Victor, Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil, Ann Dowd as Victor’s neighbor, and Jennifer Nettles and Norbert Leo Butz as the parents of Katherine, Angela’s friend.
Is there any other notable information related to the release of “The Exorcist: Believer”?
Yes, coinciding with the release of “The Exorcist: Believer,” William Friedkin’s final film, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” is set to debut posthumously on Paramount+.