Hasbro has been trying desperately to try and launch a successful blockbuster franchise that isn’t Transformers for a long time, but the ground has only ended up littered with the bones of Battleship and all three G.I. Joe movies. Funnily enough, the toy company’s most profitable enterprise outside of the Autobots and the Decepticons came in the unlikely realms of horror, with both Ouija films turning huge profits relative to their budgets.
The pair of supernatural chillers based on the board game entire generations were too scared to play combined to earn a touch over $183 million at the box office on combined production costs of around $20 million, but the low cost/high reward model is where the similarities begin and end.
Stiles White’s Ouija was obliterated by critics when it was first released, winding up with an embarrassing Rotten Tomatoes score of 6%. However, prequel Origin of Evil secured the services of genre maestro Mike Flanagan, with the co-writer and director having a huge hand in turning things around, upping the ante exponentially to an 82% rating on the aggregator.
The setup is largely the same, with the titular tabletop wreaking havoc on an unassuming Los Angeles family, who find themselves plagued by demonic forces after Elizabeth Reaser’s matriarch takes things way too far when trying to boost her business hosting hokey séances.
It’s all about the execution, though, something Flanagan has built his entire career upon, so Origin of Evil was always guaranteed to be a massive improvement from the second he came aboard. The second Ouija has also been scaring up some success on Netflix this weekend, having reached fourth spot in the United States per FlixPatrol, with subscribers opting to spend their weekend waiting for things to go bump in the night.