It’s been an incredible year for the horror genre so far. Before fans enter the Halloween season, one of the final summer horror films to take the genre by storm has been Orphan: First Kill. While this killer prequel primarily saw a Paramount+ and VOD release earlier this month, First Kill also received a limited theatrical release. Now the film has passed the $6 million mark at the box office and in its second weekend it has expanded from 498 theaters to 557 theaters. First Kill has so far made an almost even split of $3.2 million domestically and $2.9 million internationally for a worldwide grand total of $6.3 million.
This number is very impressive given its hybrid release and makes you wonder how much this film would have made if it got a full dedicated theatrical release. The original Orphan made $77 million worldwide on only a $20 million budget with that standard release strategy. It’s safe to believe that First Kill’s budget was around that same ballpark and the film would have definitely made at least its money back with a wider release. We don’t know how well the film is doing on streaming or how much money it’s made with VOD, so First Kill has become surrounded by a bunch of what-if scenarios. However, the saving grace here is that the film is being shown in more theaters because that’s where it deserves to be seen.
Even though First Kill came out 13 years after the cult classic original, the film is an amazing prequel. Esther hasn’t lost her killer touch. The writing retained the clever sharpness of the first film, but completely threw the original shocking twist on its head to keep this prequel feeling fresh. The brilliant twist has the original’s deadly spirit and adds so much rich tension to the whole story. The sequences of suspense are so much fun, the kills are delightfully deranged, and the twisted characters manipulate you into thinking that this is just a retelling of the first film’s structure. However, this prequel is anything but that. It forms a very morbid and unique identity in all its smile-inducing insanity. Then there is Esther whose once again played wonderfully by Isabelle Fuhrman. It’s like Fuhrman never left the role and how they practically pulled off her performance adds an extra layer of off-putting creepiness to this demented experience.
Esther has emerged from her blood-soaked bath to present another murderously entertaining good time at the movies. These box office numbers prove that audiences are celebrating this iconic horror character. It’s also just more proof that most people prefer their horror movies on the big screen. Hopefully Paramount will realize that if they ever make an Orphan 3.
For now, horror fans should just enjoy the fact that Esther is back, and her prequel is a worthy successor to her first reign of terror. You can support Orphan: First Kill’s box office by seeing it in theaters now. However, if she’s not killing in a theater near you, you can stream First Kill on Paramount+ if you dare.