At first, it didn’t seem like a title that could rub shoulders with big blockbusters or films much more advertised in theaters. The new version of Candyman, the serial killer with a sharp hook for hand, emerged from the mind of novelist Clive Barker, had a budget of just $25 million and has become, upon its release, the sleeper hit of the summer season.
According to Box Office Mojo data, it debuted as the most watched film last weekend at the US box office, grossing $22.4 million. A figure not so far from those obtained, also during their first weekends, by Free Guy with Ryan Reynolds grossing $28.3 million or James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad with $26.2 million.
In addition, it has become a milestone. It is the first film directed by an African-American woman, Nia DaCosta, to be #1 at the box office. An up-and-coming director, her first feature film was Little Woods in 2018, and even before this unforeseen success she was already hired to take the reins of a blockbuster like Captain Marvel 2 aka The Marvels.
With the original short story, titled The Forbidden, Clive Barker invented an urban legend around a sinister character who could be summoned before a mirror if his name was said five times, and it was already the subject of an adaptation in 1992 directed by Bernard Rose, starring Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd.
The new version stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II playing a visual artist obsessed with his possible connection to the terrifying character, and Teyonah Parris as his girlfriend, an art gallery director. Candyman is currently in theaters.