'The Grudge' Reboot Will Haunt A New Release Date

If you were looking forward to getting the crap scared out of you by a ghostly woman with hair in her face and her cat-voiced ghost son this summer...well, you're in for a longer wait. Screen Gems has moved its reboot of The Grudge from this summer to early 2020, a move that could mean behind-the-issues. Or it could mean the studio seeing a box office opportunity and seizing it.

Deadline reports that the reboot of The Grudge, which drops the "the" and is just titled Grudge, will no longer open on June 21, 2019. The film will now open on January 3, 2020.

There are two ways to look at this. You can see this drastic move as Screen Gems not having faith in the film and hightailing it out of the summer season and dumping it in the doldrums of January. Or you can see this as Screen Gems noting that January has become an increasingly profitable zone for low-budget genre movies (see the low-key success of Escape Room and major success of Glass) and they want to grab a piece of that action with the kind of movie post-holidays audiences crave. After all, horror has traditionally done well in slow seasons. Right now, the main competition on that date is an untitled Blumhouse horror movie, so you can probably expect that one to blink and relocate.

Grudge is the latest entry in one of the strangest and longest-running horror franchises being made today, telling the story of a house haunted by two ghosts with an increasingly complex mythology. While most western audiences will be familiar with the very profitable and pretty good 2004 film (and probably not the less-successful second film the direct-to-video third film), the franchise was a phenomenon in its native Japan. 2000's Ju-On: The Grudge was followed by 11 sequels (including a crossover film with The Ring), as well as short films, video games, comics, and novels. While some horror fans may roll their eyes at a remake of 2004 film, churning out another Grudge movie like this is very much in-line with the larger series. It's best to just go with it and appreciate the sheer volume.

And honestly, you'd be okay to have faith in this particular Grudge. There is no studio hack behind the camera – there's The Eyes of My Mother and Piercing director Nicholas Pesce, a filmmaker whose work has been bold, merciless, disturbing, and bleakly funny. If anyone can take a series that has grown overly familiar in more than one hemisphere, it's him. I can't wait to see what he can do with a proper studio budget...and I hope the suits just let him go nuts.

We'll see what Grudge has to offer in about 11 months.