Melissa Barrera's Abigail does not indicate a promising box office future for the genre, here's why

Abigail released earlier this month but has only grossed $15 million yet. (Image via Universal Pictures)
Abigail released earlier this month but has only grossed $15 million yet. (Image via Universal Pictures)

Released on April 7, 2024, Abigail is a comedy-horror film starring Melissa Barrera and Dan Stevens. The movie looks at six criminals who conspire to kidnap the daughter of an underworld figure. However, unbeknownst to them, the daughter, played by Alisha Weir, turns out to be none other than Count Dracula’s daughter, who then proceeds to hunt her kidnappers.

The movie, despite working with a unique concept and a stellar cast, has not been received well at the box office. This has led to questions about the overall horror genre's fate when it comes to earnings around the world.

Furthermore, Abigail in particular appears to be bleeding at the box office despite the film being met very favorably by critics. This represents the continuation of a concerning trend that might discourage future filmmakers from targeting the genre in particular. Several reasons, such as dwindling interest in the horror genre, and Abigail being released in the off-season appear to have played a part.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the writer's opinions.

Abigail’s failure at the box office represents concerning trend for horror genre


It appears that there are several reasons at play behind the reception of Abigail. The movie itself is a reboot of Dracula’s Daughter, which was released back in 1984. A range of fans of the original had questioned the need for a reboot, especially considering the fact that the movie has inculcated a variety of changes, including where it has been set.

Abigail is set in New York City, and has been released at a time when a range of horror movies have failed to make an impression on the box office. One of the reasons behind it appears to be the fact that the genre in general has reportedly begun to be viewed as an OTT genre, as people have allegedly shown an unwillingness to watch horror movies in theaters in the recent past.

This includes a range of recent releases which have all failed to make an impression at the box office. Abigail follows suit by marking its domestic debut via earnings of just $10 million over the three-day weekend.

A further $5.2 million has been reported since, which takes its overall earnings to $15 million. Moving on, the movie has received a 83% Rotten Tomatoes rating, which means the viewers who actually went ahead and watched it were far from disappointed.


This further suggests that its fate has been affected simply because of the alleged lack of interest audiences worldwide have shown towards the genre in general. Furthermore, while horror movies seem to be more popular towards the holiday season and Halloween, the same does not seem to be true for the rest of the year.

Hence, despite Abigail being a solid movie overall with some genuinely high-quality comedy written into it, the fact that it was released in April also seems to have played a part in its reportedly poor reception. Additionally, rather than being pushed as a comedy-horror flick, the trailers in particular seemed to focus more on the various horror aspects of the narrative.

This led to the overall notion that Abigail is more of a horror movie than a comedy film, something that seems to have played a part in its reception in theaters. The news comes just weeks after Melissa Barrera herself talked about the narrative in particular. The actress had claimed that her character of Joey represented a huge diversion in her career, and she was excited about the role.

However, the movie’s reception might disappoint the actress as well. Abigail was made with a budget of $28 million, which means that it is currently at a loss for about $13 million, which does not seem to be reflective of just the overall reception.

As a matter of fact, it seems as if multiple factors have played a part in the movie's failure at the box office, despite it receiving critical acclaim. Of course, a range of releases in recent months have been what has been termed as "sleeper hits." These movies tend to fail at the box office, but end up receiving their due acclaim when they make their way to OTT.

This factor and the overall challenges faced by the horror genre suggest that even Abigail might follow suit and eventually be recognized when it makes its way to OTT.

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