John Carpenter's Masterpiece The Thing Is Back In The Box Office Top 10 After Four Decades

This past weekend's box office may have been dominated by the likes of "Jurassic World: Dominion," "Lightyear," and "Top Gun: Maverick" but, amazingly enough, a stone-cold sci-fi classic from 40 years ago actually snuck its way back onto the charts once again. John Carpenter's "The Thing," which was originally released in the summer of 1982, was re-released by the folks at Fathom Events this past Sunday, and the single-day screenings generated enough ticket sales to bring the movie back into the top 10, even if the screenings themselves were far from perfect.

As reported by Collider, "The Thing" pulled in an estimated $500,000 in its re-release, which would be good enough to put it at number nine on the charts for the weekend. There is (almost) a bit of poetic cemetery there as Carpenter's brilliant blend of horror and sci-fi originally hit the charts at number eight back in '82, losing badly to the likes of "E.T." and "Blade Runner." It was a crazy weekend for sci-fi overall.

This to say, the film was not at all a hit in its day but it's a prime example of something being allowed to find its audience over time. It is now considered to be one of the finest films of any kind in both the sci-fi and horror realm. The demand for these 40th-anniversary screenings is evidence of that, as is the response to the disappointing presentation made by Fathom.

A great movie, a poor presentation

Mick Garris, director of "Critters 2" and a horror master in his own right, took to Twitter to declare his beef with the Fathom presentation of the film. His thread went viral and quite a few people chimed in with similar complaints on social media.

So, yes, this new 4K restoration of "The Thing" was presented very poorly and was projected with the incorrect aspect ratio, among other issues. For what it's worth, Fathom was forced to take note of the issue and, in a statement, revealed that screenings taking place Wednesday of this week would be presented with these issues having been corrected. Said Fathom:

"Your patronage and trust are of utmost importance to us. We know you come to theaters expecting the very best experience possible and we pride ourselves in being the provider of that experience. We are aware that the recent showing of 'The Thing; wasn't shown in its original aspect ratio and the disappointment it caused. Wednesday's scheduled event will be shown in the proper aspect ratio, so you can see the film in theaters, as it was meant to be seen."

Carpenter, it's worth noting, was unhappy when he heard the news. In speaking with IndieWire, the filmmaker called the situation "distressing" and "horrible." Though he also added, "I'm happy that people want The Thing to be presented at a minimum — at a minimum, man — in the way we made it. I'm delighted by that." That is, indeed, the minimum and Fathom failed to meet that, despite the respectable demand they were seeing. But, looking on the bright side, the fact that this movie is still so in-demand is a nice bit of cinematic justice on its own.