Candyman, the "spiritual sequel" to the classic 1992 horror, has defied pandemic expectations to gross $22.37 million at the American box office, reports Variety. This stronger-than-expected result during the film's first three days of release may well bolster executives' faith in a theatrical-only strategy (Candyman wasn't offered on streaming services). The movie was projected to open to $15 million, which means it's vastly outstripped industry expectations and has practically made back its $25m budget during its first weekend.
The movie is directed by Nia DaCosta and both extends and reboots the original mythology. Yahya Abdul-Mateen plays artist Anthony who mistakenly attempts to harness the power of elusive boogeyman Candyman through his art installation 'Say My Name'. The storyline is rife with social commentary, jabs at gentrification, black culture, white culture and the notion of the artist as an exploiter.
Oscar-winning Get Out and Us filmmaker Jordan Peele co-wrote the screenplay and produced through his Monkeypaw label. One could argue that the prestige of Peele's name is what helped propel the movie to impressive opening returns, and the strong reviews may also have helped. Reviewers have been quick to praise DaCosta's visually elegant touch and the surplus of thought-provoking themes.
Just as the original Candyman made history by establishing a black horror icon (Tony Todd giving an unforgettable performance), the success of the new movie is also historically significant. It's the first time a woman filmmaker of colour has ever topped the American box office, offering a glimmer of hope and optimism amidst these turbulent times.
Dare you say his name five times? Click here to book your tickets for Candyman, on release now in Cineworld.