In what’s becoming a welcome trend, another genre movie that was originally slated to go directly to streaming is coming to theaters first. It happened with Blue Beetle, Smile, and Evil Dead Rise, and now, it’s happening with The Boogeyman.
Based on a Stephen King short story from his 1978 Night Shift collection, The Boogeyman is directed by Rob Savage (Dashcam) and produced by 21 Laps, the company behind Stranger Things. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film had a “surprisingly muscular test screening in December that made studio executives and producers reconsider their release strategy.” King himself also approved the move.
And so now, a film that was originally made for Hulu will be opening in theaters on June 2. The Boogeyman stars Chris Messina (Birds of Prey), Sophie Thatcher (Book of Boba Fett), Vivien Lyra Blair (Obi-Wan Kenobi), David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad), Marin Ireland (Umbrella Academy), and Madison Hu (Bizaardvark). It’s about two sisters (Thatcher and Blair, we assume) who, after the death of their mother, are forced to deal with a supernatural being their father (Messina) mistakenly let into the house.
While the test screening reaction, and therefore the perceived quality of the film, seems to be the main reason for the change, the Hollywood Reporter also cites the huge success Paramount had with Smile—a movie that was originally made for Paramount+, tested great with audiences, and was released in theaters instead. Made for only $17 million, it went on to gross over $200 million. Which then, in turn, creates awareness and brings people to see it on streaming. It’s not always possible to do this (for example, there was some weird contractual thing with Hulu’s Predator prequel Prey that made releasing it in theaters unappealing for Disney), but we’re loving that it’s an option. If a movie is great, yes, release it in theaters first. Make it an event. We hope it pans out for not just The Boogeyman, but Evil Dead Rise, Blue Beetle, and others.
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