Jaws was the first film ever to gross $100 million at the box office, cementing its place in cinematic history. What makes this feat all the more astonishing is the fact Jaws is a horror film.
Since the dawn of cinema, the genre has struggled to bring in money. Because most slashers, found-footage docs, and zombie flicks are brimming with gut-splattering, blood-spewing gore, they are often slapped with an R-rating. If that's the case, 90% of the potential audience can't see it. Even if the film in question is hailed as the best thing since sliced bread, it's likely to struggle at the theatres, since its viewership is limited.
Now, that doesn't mean a horror is guaranteed to bomb. The Exorcist, IT, and The Sixth Sense were hugely successful and broke box office records. But there are some horror movies that are so iconic, you'd swear they were a monster hit. Sadly, many classics in the genre fail to turn a profit. Worse still, some of them didn't come close to breaking even.
The films on this list may have be regarded as classics, but that doesn't mean they made a dime.
10. Wes Craven's New Nightmare
Budget: $8 million
Box Office: $19.8 million
A Nightmare On Elm Street had so much potential as a slasher franchise. But as the subsequent sequels devolved into derivative schlock, it was apparent the series' creative juices had been drained. When the last entry, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare killed off the titular villain, it looked like Elm Street had finally been put to sleep.
So, when a new instalment called Wes Craven's New Nightmare was announced, moviegoers collectively groaned, assuming it would be more of the same.
But this film sounded like it could actually work. Not only was it directed by A Nightmare On Elm Street's creator Wes Craven, it took place in the real world, with the fedora-sporting dream demon attacking the cast and crew of the original film.
Since meta-slashers were a novel concept in the 1990s, New Nightmare was way ahead of its time. Because this film marked the first time we'd see Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) and Heather Langenkamp (Nancy Thompson) playing themselves, it seemed like this instalment was giving us everything we wanted.
Sadly, it failed to make a splash at theatres. Now, because Wes Craven's New Nightmare made over double its money back, it can't be classified as a total box office bomb. But considering it was the least successful entry in the series, there's no question New Nightmare massively underperformed.