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Jason Blum, James Wan Film Gets Opening Estimate



Night Swim,” a supernatural thriller about a ghost-plagued pool, is attempting to start the 2024 box office with a splash.

The Universal Pictures film, which marks the year’s first nationwide release, is targeting a debut of $9 million to $11 million from 3,200 North American theaters. It’s a decent start for the $15 million-budgeted movie, which won’t face competition on the horror front until March’s haunted-teddy-bear-inspired “Imaginary.”

“Night Swim,” written and directed by Bryce McGuire and starring Wyatt Russell and Kerry Condon, follows a family who finds out that an otherwordly presence haunts the backyard swimming pool in their new home. Reviews rarely correlate to ticket sales with horror, which is good because Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman criticized “Night Swim” as “too familiar and derivative — and too PG-13.”

January tends to be a box office dead zone, and 2024 may ignite at an especially glacial pace. That’s because the holiday season lacked the kind of four-quadrant blockbuster that not only pops in December but keeps selling tickets well into the new year.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” was positioned to be that potential billion-dollar Christmastime tentpole, but the Warner Bros. and DC comic book sequel is already sinking in theaters. In its second week, “Aquaman 2” lost the box office crown to “Wonka,” which reclaimed the No. 1 spot over the New Year’s holiday weekend with $22.4 million. “Wonka,” led by Timothée Chalamet as the eccentric titular chocolatier, could retain the top spot unless “Night Swim” beats expectations. Otherwise, holiday holdovers like Universal and Illumination’s animated “Migration” and the Warner Bros. musical adaptation of “The Color Purple” will round out North American box office charts.

“Night Swim” is the first release from Jason Blum’s Blumhouse and James Wan’s Atomic Monster since the two companies officially merged on Jan. 2. Blum is the mastermind behind “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” “Halloween,” “Paranormal Activity” and “The Purge,” while Wan is the creative force of “The Conjuring” and “Saw” series. The titans of terror were collaborators on last year’s sleeper hit “M3GAN,” which opened exactly a year ago with $30 million and went on to generate a scary-good $180 million worldwide.


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