Warner Bros. handled distribution of the film and, wisely, decided to release it in theaters on an actual Friday the 13th. That year, it also coincided with Valentine’s Day, meaning the moviegoing public had a date with a murderous masked killer. It didn’t particularly matter that reviews of the film were unkind at the time. Audiences were evidently ready for a new take on the slasher icon.
Opening against relatively weak competition in the form of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “The International,” the “Friday the 13th” remake sailed to the top of the charts, taking in $40.5 million opening weekend. That number ballooned to $43.5 million accounting for the Monday President’s Day. Against a reasonable $17 million budget, it was an instant hit, which is good because it came crashing down to Earth the following weekend.
The film dropped a staggering 80.4% in its second weekend, making it one of the most front-loaded hits in history. It fell to number six on the charts losing to “Madea Goes to Jail.” By weekend number three, Jason was out of the top ten entirely. It didn’t matter though, as the film finished its run with $65 million domestically to go with $26.5 million internationally for a grand total of $91.5 million worldwide. Jason Voorhees was back, baby.
“[Friday the 13th] had the biggest horror opening of all time, beating the previous record set by ‘Freddy vs Jason,’ which we also wrote,” Shannon and Swift told me of the film’s success. “That was surreal. We have framed trades announcements for both opening weekends hanging in our office, gifts from the producers and studios.”