Who's scared? Young crowds flock to Happy Death Day

Movie still from Happy Death Day. The movie received mostly positive reviews, amounting to a comeback for director Christopher Landon.
Movie still from Happy Death Day. The movie received mostly positive reviews, amounting to a comeback for director Christopher Landon.PHOTO: UIP

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood's top horror factory did it again.

Happy Death Day, the latest microbudget movie from Blumhouse Productions, the Universal Pictures-affiliated studio behind hits like Split and Get Out, arrived to a strong US$26.5 million (S$36 million) in ticket sales in North America.

That total was easily enough for No. 1.

In keeping with the Blumhouse model - find gifted but undervalued directors, give them little money but lots of creative control - Happy cost about US$4.5 million to make and was directed by Christopher Landon.

It received mostly positive reviews, amounting to a comeback for Landon, who wrote most of the Paranormal Activity films but had a misfire as a director in 2015 with Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse.

A horror comedy that mixes hints of the Scream movies with Groundhog Day-style repetition, Happy managed to turn out younger audiences.

In contrast, they continued to stay away from Blade Runner 2049 which was a limp second in its second weekend. It took in roughly US$15.1 million, for a new domestic total of US$60.6 million.

The Foreigner, an action thriller starring Jackie Chan, arrived in third place, with about US$12.8 million in ticket sales. STX, an upstart Burbank studio, noted that the movie had already made US$88 million overseas.