When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.

DON’T BREATHE
Screen Gems

THE FILM

Don’t Breathe is the quintessential late-summer thriller sleeper, with a cast comprised largely of newcomers, and a correspondingly minuscule budget. Stephen Lang stars as a blind man who gets preyed upon by a group that hears he has money stashed in his home from a settlement, after his daughter was run over by a wealthy woman. Turns out that the man isn’t helpless at all, nor is he completely deserving of the audience’s sympathy. He hunts the intruders one by one, as they try to escape from his tricked-up house.

THE BOX SCORE

Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

THE BOTTOM LINE

How much of a surprise at the box office was Don’t Breathe? Well, it way overperformed on its opening weekend and toppled Suicide Squad in its second frame. The film grossed $26.4 million in its opening weekend, passing 10 Cloverfield Lane to become the biggest non-sequel horror debut of the year to that point. It passed Takers to become Screen Gems’ biggest opener and was the biggest R-rated new horror film opening since The Conjuring. When you hit those milestones, and do it with an up-and-coming director, a no-name cast, and you get away with shooting a Detroit-set film in Hungary, you are going to make a lot of money.

That is exactly what happened for Sony and Good Universe on Don’t Breathe, but the surprise is that because of the way that Good Universe puts together these packages, the director Fede Alvarez, his co-writer Rodo Sayauges, and the producers did very well on the kind of back-end participation one sees on independent films that score big. Still, our experts’ breakdown has it netted out at $59.10 million for Sony and Good Universe, for a Cash on Cash Return of 1.52. Alvarez, is working on a sequel, but Sony also hired him to take the reins on the continuation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Alvarez was set to direct The Girl In The Spider’s Web, for 2018 release.