2023 is shaping up to be a record year for horror movies

7 October, 2023

Image: The Nun II

All signs point to this year having a blockbuster spooky season. We know that there is always a seasonal spike in demand for horror movies but several indicators, including a series of recent new horror movies that have premiered with high demand, point to this being a successful October for horror content.

The average demand for horror movies this year has been consistently higher than the past two years, even well before the traditional rise in demand for scary movies. A more interesting trend that we have measured over the last three years is an earlier start to the seasonal uptick in demand for these kind of movies. In 2021 there was a pretty clear increase starting the first week of October. In 2022, the uptick began around mid-September. This year, the average demand for horror movies has been steadily climbing since July. The average horror movie demand as of September 30th this year (2.5x the average movie demand) was the same as the average demand for horror movies at its peak at the end of October last year.  


One factor behind the spooky season creeping earlier could be the number of successful off-season horror movies. M3GAN came to theaters in January, Scream VI in March, and Evil Dead Rise in April. However, there is still a clear concentration of horror movies premiering in September and October. So far this year, Saw X has had the most in-demand premiere, peaking at 88.6 times the average movie demand in its first week. Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t scheduled to premiere until October 27th, but three weeks out from its premiere it has higher pre-release demand than any of these other recent premieres. This bodes well for its theatrical release and also for Peacock, where it is scheduled to be released simultaneously.


In September, Amazon Prime Video had the most demand for horror movies available to stream on its platform, putting it in a good position to capitalize on the October surge in demand for this type of content. M3GAN and Nope topped the ranking of most in-demand horror movies on Amazon Prime Video last month. The two most in-demand horror movies available on Max in September were The Nun and The Meg, both of which are benefiting from increased demand from their recent sequels.

Netflix notably lags other streamers when it comes to demand for horror movies. Total demand for horror movies on Netflix was only about 60% of the total demand for horror films on Amazon Prime Video. Last month, the most in-demand horror film available to stream on Netflix in the US was Don’t Worry Darling, more than a year old at this point. Scary season could be an opportunity for these other platforms with more horror content to lure subscribers away from Netflix.


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