Every year the debate over original content faring well at the box office becomes a topic of conversation because, let’s face it, a lot of original fare can get lost in the shuffle. Studios are consumed by familiar IP or sequels because they typically bring in big bucks but 2019 saw original films such as ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, US & HUSTLERS clearing $100 million at the box office but perhaps the head of class of 2019 in regards to this was the ensemble mystery comedy, KNIVES OUT. Rian Johnson crafted a story that would make Agatha Christie proud while showcasing performers who seemed to be having the time of their lives. Not only was the film a hit with critics but moviegoers also couldn’t get enough and due to this, KNIVES OUT has crossed a significant box office milestone.
KNIVES OUT has officially surpassed the $300 million mark at the global box office. The Oscar-nominated whodunit has grossed $159.3 million at the domestic box office and $140.7 million overseas representing a current global haul of $300.1 million. The film was a hit out of the gate when it opened over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend but what has been impressive is that it has seen some of the best holds at the box office since its release date and managed to remain in the top ten for ten weeks. As of this writing, the film is still in the top ten at the box office as we head into Presidents’ Day weekend.
With a modest $40 million budget, Lionsgate is going to see a nice return from KNIVES OUT, despite the fact that mid-budget fare like this has fallen out of favor with a lot of studios. They rather take risks with films that have budgets almost as high as $200 million and hope that between domestic and overseas grosses they succeed. There is no denying that big budget endeavors can do very well but they can also crash and burn. I’m pretty sure Paramount regrets spending upwards of $180 million on TERMINATOR: DARK FATE only to watch it stall out at $62.2 million at the domestic box office.
KNIVES OUT is now the second-highest grossing original film of 2019 at the worldwide box office behind Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD ($374 million). By the time the film ends its run, Lionsgate expects it to be among the top ten biggest Thanksgiving releases of all-time. All of this has led to the studio pushing forward with a sequel with the idea that they have a potential franchise on their hands. It’ll be a little ironic that a film we are praising for its originality will become the very thing that studios love to crank out but in this moment, KNIVES OUT is a glowing example that we should never give up on original content being successful. The film was one of my personal favorites of 2019 and served as a bit of redemption for Rian Johnson who took an unwarranted beating from STAR WARS fans after the release of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. The success of KNIVES OUT is a win for anyone thriving for fresh and new ideas to be at the center of attention.
Do YOU think the success of KNIVES OUT will lead to studios taking more chances on original content?