‘The Blackening’ Makes Back Its Budget – But Opens in 6th Place at Box Office

The Blackening (Credit: Lionsgate)

The Blackening brought laughs to theaters and rang up an estimated $6 million in ticket sales at the Juneteenth holiday weekend box office.

The film played in 1,775 locations for a per theater average of $3,380, according to industry tracking company Comscore. Yet the horror comedy only managed a sixth place finish.

It came in far behind this weekend’s champion, The Flash, which earned $55.1 million. Elemental debuted in second place with $29.5 million. Among the holdovers, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was third with $27.8 million. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts was fourth with $20 million, and The Little Mermaid rounded out the top five with $11.6 million.

Related Story: ‘The Flash’ Underwhelms With $55.1 Million at Box Office  – After Long Road to Release

Box office Chart for June 18, 2023. (Credit: Comscore)

While The Blackening opened behind the competition, the film made back its reported $5 million production budget in three days. The Lionsgate release is projected to earn a total of $7.0 million by the end of the Monday holiday.

The story follows a group of Black friends who reunite for a Juneteenth getaway. But their holiday weekend turns into a nightmare when they end up trapped inside a cabin with a killer who forces them to play an offensive trivia game called “The Blackening.”

The cast includes Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Dewayne Perkins, Antoinette Robertson, Sinqua Walls, Jay Pharoah, and Yvonne Orji.

The movie is directed by Tim Story (Think Like a Man), and co-written by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) and Dewayne Perkins (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

The comedy received a “B+” CinemaScore from audiences. Meanwhile, critics gave it a “certified fresh” 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Blackening premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival. After a bidding war, Lionsgate acquired the film from MRC for about $20 million, Deadline reported.

The movie is based on a 2018 short film by the same name from comedy troupe 3Peat. The story skewers horror movie tropes — and the idea that Black characters often get slashed first — by posing the question: If the entire cast of a horror movie is Black, then who dies first?

Shawn Edwards, film critic for Fox 4 News in Kansas City, Missouri and executive producer of the Critics Choice Association’s “Celebration of Black Cinema & TV,” told Urban Hollywood 411 the film was never expected to bring in huge crowds, adding that it performed “as expected.”

“Let’s be honest, this is a film for us by us,” Edwards said Sunday. “It will get a lot more attention once it hits the home market.”

Personally, I found The Blackening funny at times, yet tiresome.

Between the constant use of the N-word and the plot twist involving the killer at the end (which didn’t exactly add up), I was glad when the credits finally rolled.