“World War Z” Is a Winner, but Vampires Still Slay Zombies

The Walking Dead may be chomping on The Vampire Diaries when it comes to TV ratings, but, at the movies, rotting corpses are usually no match for the bloodsuckers, or even werewolves. Can Brad Pitt's surprise hit World War Z, based on the popular book by Max Brooks, change all that? So far, the dead are putting up some pretty live numbers.

The zombie thriller raced to a $66.4 million opening weekend in the U.S. and has since added $22 million in domestic receipt,s and $45.8 million in international ticket sales heading into this weekend's showings, according to data supplied by Box Office Mojo.

Zombies on a plane! Sources: Paramount Pictures, YouTube.

No doubt the film's producers are relieved. World War Z's $190 million budget and well-known production snafus had some worrying that the film would be a John Carter-sized disaster for Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIA  ) Paramount Pictures. Instead, the studio is apparently already in talks about a sequel.

Did I mention the rotting part?
But again, The Walking Dead is an exception. The breakout zombie hit for AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX  ) enters its fourth season in October as the top-rated scripted show of the 2012-2013 fall season, and that's in spite of an uncommonly tight budget for a drama dependent on brilliant makeup and visual effects artists.

SOURCE: Frank Ockenfels/AMC.

World War Z isn't exactly in Walking Dead territory. But, as you can see from the data compiled by Box Office Mojo, it's rare for a zombie flick to attract any kind of a wide audience. So rare, in fact, that World War Z is already tops in the genre -- presuming you discount Sony's animated monster mashup, Hotel Transylvania:

Metrics
Vampires
Werewolves
Zombies
The Mummy

Total U.S. box office

$2.91 billion

$1.73 billion

$1.14 billion

$550.9 million

No. of films in franchise

71

26

52

4

Per-film average

$40.97 million

$66.41 million

$22.01 million

$137.74 million

Top film in franchise** (box office)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

($300.5 million)

Wolf

($65.0 million)

World War Z

($88.3 million)

The Mummy Returns

($202.0 million)

Source: Box Office Mojo.
** Where the monster in question is somehow attached to the lead character.

Remember: go for the head
Each big box office makes it more likely we'll see more monsters at the theater. In the meantime, Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Marvel Studios has taken pains to reclaim the film rights to darker characters such as the vampire-hunting Blade, and the demon-possessed Ghost Rider. Netflix, for its part, has ordered a second season of its original horror hit, Hemlock Grove.

And why not? Judging by the numbers, the dead are alive and well. Invest accordingly.

One stock that's hard to kill
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out more in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to get your copy now and we'll tell you the name of this under-the-radar company.


Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2516465, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2014 6:17:36 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement