Orphan: First Kill Notches A $1.6 Million Opening Weekend In Limited Release

After a 13-year gap between films, the prequel to Jaume Collet-Serra's hit 2009 killer kid(?) movie "Orphan" debuted on Paramount+ alongside a limited theatrical release this weekend, with "Orphan: First Kill" proving audiences can't get enough of Esther. William Brent Bell of "The Boy," "Stay Alive," and "Separation" fame is in the director's chair this time around, with "Orphan" star Isabelle Fuhrman returning to play the titular role, despite the fact she's now well into her 20s. Even with the day-and-date release, "Orphan: First Kill" managed to bring home $1.6 million in its opening weekend, while playing in only 498 theaters across the country. 

For comparison, the Idris Elba starring "Beast" opened in 3,743 theaters. Our friends over at Bloody-Digusting put together some quick math, which shows that "Orphan: First Kill" averaged $3,363 per theater, while "Beast" pulled in $3,091 per theater on average. Of course, this isn't a guarantee that "Orphan: First Kill” would have pulled similar numbers had the distributors chosen a wide-release plan instead of the day-and-date release with Paramount+, but it's a testament to the power of horror that the prequel pulled off such a solid theatrical performance when people had the option to simply watch it at home. The film's success is due in large part to the curiosity of seeing Fuhrman return to a role she played as a child, as well as the jaw-dropping twist that makes the first "Orphan" reveal seem tame.

2022 is a great year for horror

The impressive opening weekend of "Orphan: First Kill" is the latest sign that 2022 is the year of horror. The Blumhouse flick "The Black Phone" had a killer theatrical run at the start of the summer, and Jordan Peele's UFO flick "Nope" nabbed the highest box office opening for an original movie since Peele's sophomore feature, "Us." Horror is and has always been one of the most prolific and profitable genres in all of cinema, even if awards bodies continue to ignore the films that keep the industry alive between superhero releases.

"Orphan: First Kill" may also signal a new trend in horror, as it seems "trauma horror" is finally on its way out, and fun horror is on its way in. Director William Brent Bell knew that bringing this story to a new era would be no easy task, but in my opinion, he completely nailed it. "Orphan: First Kill" leans all the way in on the ridiculous premise of the original film, and allows all of the characters involved to revel in it. Without spoiling anything, keep your eyes peeled for one of the funniest needle drops in years, and a Julia Stiles performance that has me wanting her to carry an entire franchise of her own.