With the news that everything from Mulan to Bill and Ted Face the Music will be going straight to VOD amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of movie theaters opening up again, one would assume that the upcoming horror film, Candyman, will also have a similar trajectory. But honestly, I think putting Candyman on VOD would be the equivalent of the movie saying “Candyman” five times in front of a mirror. And that’s because I think this movie will be dead in the water if it doesn’t wait until theaters reopen to release it.
Even though the Candyman reboot isn’t Tenet, i.e. that massive, big-budget blockbuster that Christopher Nolan thinks NEEDS to be seen on the big screen, it would still likely have a better chance if it just waited until theaters reopened again than to go straight to VOD. Why, you ask? Well, here’s why.
Candyman Is Already A Niche Horror Franchise And Might Get Lost On VOD
Candyman is not A Nightmare on Elm Street. It’s not Friday the 13th, and it’s not Halloween. Candyman is Candyman, and if the aforementioned three horror franchises are in the A-tier of horror, then Candyman is B-tier, or maybe even C-tier, hanging out with the likes of Chucky and Pinhead. In that way, Candyman does not have the name recognition or already existing fanbase to make a huge splash, especially if it’s put directly to VOD. In fact, the last Candyman movie, 1999’s Candyman: Day of the Dead came out to little fanfare. So if the Candyman franchise is going to make a huge comeback, then it’s going to need to come back big. And I just fear that Candyman will get lost in the age of Netflix where you can watch a whole slew of horror movies and aren’t starved for content.
In fact, like I said earlier, the new Candyman is a reboot, and all 3 of A-list horror movies I mentioned before (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween) actually did have remakes (Well, Halloween was more of a reboot/sequel). And besides Halloween, the other two underperformed. So if A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th couldn’t even make a big enough splash in the theaters to garner sequels, then what makes anybody think that a C-List character like Candyman will do well if it goes straight to VOD? That’s what I want to know.
The Audience Reaction Is Very Important In The Horror Genre
What’s considered scary is purely subjective. One person might be terrified of serial killers (yawn), while another person might be terrified of girls with long hair covering their faces (yikes!). So if the upcoming Candyman isn’t scary, then it will probably be quickly forgotten. And if it is scary, it might still be forgotten if it’s seen from the comfort of someone’s own home where they can just pause and take bathroom breaks.
But a horror movie is a totally different beast in a movie theater. It’s kind of like a comedy club. What might not be funny if you’re watching at home, might be uproarious if you’re actually there. Same with horror. If the whole audience is shrieking, it can be like a tsunami of fear, which could definitely add to Candyman’s influence if people see it in the theater. Those people will likely, in turn, tell others to go see it, and so word of mouth will get people in the seats.
Jordan Peele's Name Attached To The Project Would Likely Get More Mileage At The Box Office Than On VOD
Oh, and then you have the fact that Jordan Peele’s name is attached to this project, and people love Jordan Peele. While he didn’t direct the new Candyman (that would go to future Captain Marvel 2 director, Nia DaCosta) he did help write and produce it, so he's definitely involved with the film.
Of the box office receipts for Get Out and Us are any indication, then people want to see anything Jordan Peele has to offer at the cineplex. Even if he didn’t direct Candyman, just having Jordan Peele’s name attached to the project should bring people out to see it, which goes into my next point.
The Box Office Could Potentially Be Very Kind To Candyman
The original Candyman is pretty unique as far as horror movies go since it’s distinctly black. The title character, played by Tony Todd, is black, and a lot of the story deals with race and the inner city. So in other words, it may already have a built in black audience that may turn out for the film if it comes to theaters. I was thinking about other movies like Black Panther and even Jordan Peele’s own Get Out when I came up with this reason, since both of those films had a wide reach among all audiences, but also had a cultural connection with black audiences in particular.
So if it’s good, then Candyman could be that next big horror movie that reaches all audiences, but one that also hits home with a black demographic that can help make it an even bigger success.
People Are Going To Be Hungry To Get Back Into The Theaters After This Is All Over
And lastly, when it’s finally deemed safe to go back to theaters again, people will likely be hungry to see anything and everything back in the cineplex. And Candyman, if it meets its new October 16th release date, could be the first MAJOR horror movie to hit theaters. That could be huge, especially since it’s been pushed to October, the month of Halloween!
But if it comes to VOD, it will likely get forgotten, especially in October since there will be so many other options on Netflix and Hulu to watch something spooky. No, Candyman MUST come out in theaters if it sticks to that October release date. If not, it’s going to get buried! Buried in bees, I say! Bees!
So, yes, waiting to put Candyman in theaters would be the best course of action for the upcoming horror flick. But what do you think? Should it wait, or should it just come home to VOD in the future? Sound off in the comments.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.