Industry Blogs

Studio Success in Horror Films

December 14, 2018
Industry Blogs | 3 minute read

The film industry is experiencing a renaissance within the horror genre. Over the last couple of years, the movies that delivered the majority of profitable returns on investment (ROI) were horror themed, leading to more studios looking to produce more frightening flicks. Horror is in high demand, and there is a clear formula as to why.  

Less Gore is More 

There are other tactful methods for bringing the scares to horror movies beyond an overabundance of gory violence. Films such as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Split, and A Quiet Place have toned down the gore, which opened up a wider mass appeal. All four of these films produced significant ROIs, which then led to sequels for a now built-in audience, which increased studio income even more.  

Mind That Budget 

The simplest way to improving a ROI starts with keeping initial costs low. Horror movies regularly don’t require large set pieces and expensive special effects. In fact, practical and cheaper effects are actually preferred as opposed to CGI in many horror films. Practical effects are far more impactful than CGI, causing the threat to feel much more real.  

Also, the most important aspect of a scary movie, the villain, works best and most menacingly when played by an actual human actor, rather than something computer-generated. This leads to another aspect that aids in budget efficiency: well-known, costly actors are not essential. The main draw for a horror movie is the scares, not the people being scared, so the casting of unknown talent is common. In addition, low-budget filmmakers regularly flock towards the horror genre for the creative freedom to take risks that could lead to a better vision.  

Advanced, Affordable Technology  

With the hope for scares being the number one draw and actor notoriety inconsequential, the biggest potential expense horror directors may face could be the cost of filmmaking equipment. Fortunately, the current technologies for shooting, editing and distribution have greatly reduced in price. The tech devices now being used to make a movie are simple. For example, this past year the suspense film, Unsane, was shot entirely with an iPhone 7 Plus camera. The film grossed a worldwide total of $14.2 million, which may not seem like a lot in today’s movie market. However, thanks in part to the cost effective use of the iPhone, the film’s entire budget was only $1.5 million. That equates to a staggering return on investment of 846%.  

Additional technological advances paving the way for less pricey filmmaking include autonomous drones, dual camera virtual reality, algorithm editing, and more. Plus, protecting all this equipment as well as managing other forms of risk while filming is easy and affordable through the various customized coverages offered by ProSight. The number one rule in horror movies is to stay safe and with ProSight as part of the production, filmmakers no longer need to fear their insurance coverage. ProSight’s team of film industry experts provide a unique selection of products, services and exclusive offerings that go beyond traditional insurance coverage.

Studio Success in Horror Films

Lupe Esquivel, Customer Segment Executive for Film and Commercial Producers