No Debate: ‘The Purge: Election Year’ Trumps Record Gross For Horror Franchise

EXCLUSIVE: Moviegoers have voted with their wallets, and Universal’s latest horror collaboration with Blumhouse productions, The Purge: Election Year, is the highest-grossing title in the Purge horror franchise with a worldwide ticket stub count of $114.2M.
Summer saw a huge boom for the horror genre with The Conjuring 2, Don’t Breathe and Lights Out, and Election Year is part of that success with $79M in domestic ticket sales and $35.2M overseas. All in, The Purge franchise totals $315.4M at the global B.O. from combined production costs of $23M. It’s a horror series of appreciating returns with each installment topping the previous one: The Purge: Election Year outgrossed 2014’s The Purge: Anarchy ($111.9M), which outdid 2013’s The Purge ($89.3M global B.O.). Election Year is the only non-universe film to exceed the B.O. of its predecessor at the domestic and worldwide box office this year.
What made Election Year an anomaly stateside is how it tapped into the nation’s current political zeitgeist. Further propping the film’s themes was a Fourth of July weekend release date, which yielded the series’ second-best domestic debut with $31.5M behind The Purge‘s $34M. It also was 6% better than Anarchy‘s $29.8M FSS. While the U.S. marketing homed in on what’s happening during this unprecedented election cycle, foreign materials focused on the tourism aspect of The Purge; tourists coming to the U.S. to participate in the mass-killing marathon that’s spotlighted in each movie. Top-grossing territories for Election Year include France ($5.4M), Mexico ($4.7M), Spain ($3.1M), United Kingdom ($3M) and Argentina ($2.8M). Election Year beat Lights Out in France and Argentina.
Blumhouse’s approach is to keep franchise creators involved throughout the cycles of their movies, and franchise creator James DeMonaco has remained the director and writer on all three Purge movies.
Said DeMonaco: “Box office success is always shocking, especially being a small film in the big summer tentpole marketplace. What is really nice about the success of The Purge films is that its allowed us the freedom to dig deeper into this dystopian society and explore themes, all of which are pretty damn relevant in our society today.”
In addition to producer Jason Blum, Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, as well as DeMonaco’s longtime production partner, Sébastien K. Lemercier returned to collaborate on Election Year.

The next Universal/Blumhouse release will be Ouija: Origin of Evil on October 21. It will own the horror audience heading into Halloween as Paramount this week moved Rings off its October 28 to February.

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