Sci-fi and horror films hold their own

Whether you follow the box office horserace every weekend or not, Superbowl weekend was a nice one at the movies.

Two completely original movies came out and did pretty well, not to mention Hammer Films has come back with its biggest box office horror opening, with the help of Harry Potter.

The sci-fi Chronicle was neck and neck with The Woman in Black, and according to ComicBookMovie, there may even be a sequel. (It’s also gotten an 85% rating at Rotten Tomatoes).

According to Deadline, both Chronicle and Woman in Black “over-performed” on Superbowl weekend, and as Nikki Finke reports, “Trust me, no one in Hollywood projected either movie would get near $20M so this gives new meaning to the term ‘overperform.’ Best, both films are a low-cost/high-reward bonanza for the two studios [Fox and Hammer], especially because budgets were kept low as well as the marketing spends. Better yet, both films managed to attract the elusive young audiences who were missing for the last six months of 2011.”

It also goes without saying that any big moviegoing weekend with an original film in the theaters that isn’t based on another movie, tired old TV show, comic book, or video game is a good weekend indeed. 

For horror fans like myself, it’s great to see the classic British horror company Hammer Films back, and there’s another horror flick, Innkeepers, that’s been building good buzz as well.

The L.A. Times called it “a haunting good time,” and The Innkeepers is also considered a more old school, things that go bump in the night style horror film. Cinema Blend termed it “one of the best we’ve seen from the genre in recent years. It lacks an overabundance of gore, it doesn’t fully rely on cheap jump scares, and it’s completely unafraid to be both charming and funny.”

As Ti West, who penned and directed the film, told writer Eric Eisenberg, “I think a good horror movie should be a movie first, a horror movie second and it should treat the movie like a movie and you treat it with respect and you treat the characters like people and like characters that people should care about. 

”Then when the technical stuff, the horror stuff, comes in, you’ve got the audience. You have to be a step ahead of the audience in order for it to be scary. And the only way to do that is to get them on the same page as the characters.”