Oculus, a low-budget horror movie about an evil mirror, opened the weekend surging at the box office, as the micro-budgeted $5 million flick finished Friday in third place, well behind the Fox cartoon sequel Rio 2, which debuted in the top spot, and Marvel’s superhero holdover Captain America: The Winter Soldier which remained on course for a strong second weekend, despite a 59 percent box office drop from last Friday.
But Oculus, with no major stars or powerful producer or studio behind it, looks to kick out the Kevin Costner football drama Draft Day, a joint effort of major production houses Lionsgate and Summit. Current projections have Oculus finishing the weekend with a $13 million take, more than healthy for an inexpensively produced horror film. The Costner movie — another in a seemingly never-ending series of Kevin Costner sports films — is on track to make $11.5 million.
The financial windfall for Oculus has to feel like a bonanza for its distributor and producers. Relativity Media bought the distribution rights to Oculus at the Toronto International Film Festival for $2.5 million, immediately covering half the film’s production budget.
If indeed the movie meets its weekend projections, everyone who has invested in the movie will be very happy.
Draft Day also stars Jennifer Garner and in a smaller role, Sean “P-Diddy” Combs. In the film, Costner plays the general manager of the Cleveland Browns attempting to draft a top college prospect while fending off the team owner’s attempts to fire him — while he also learns that his girlfriend, another Browns executive, is pregnant.
The movie was marketed heavily on sports TV broadcasts, but it appears that the older audience targeted by the campaign appears to be waiting until Draft Day becomes available for home viewing.
Oculus stars Katee Sackhoff, best remembered as “Starbuck” on the recent Battlestar Galactica TV series, as a “typical mom,” who becomes overwhelmed by her deepest fears when confronted by a strange antique mirror that reflects a little more than just her physical appearance.
The movie also stars Karen Gillan whose career is expected to get an astronomical boost later this summer with the release of the Marvel Comics film, Guardians of the Galaxy.
Oculus also features an ending that is said to perfectly set up a sequel, which given how Oculus is performing at the box office, appears to be a certainty.