Child's Play is looking to reboot a classic horror property, but how much did the film cost to make? The franchise kicked off with the original movie in 1988, introducing viewers to the killer doll, Chucky. That movie made $44.1 million worldwide against a budget of only $9 million, making it a sizable success and paving the way for more installments. Several sequels have been made in the years since with varying degrees of success. Child's Play 3 grossed $20.5 million against a $13 million budget, for instance.
With Chucky being an iconic character in the horror genre, it wasn't surprising when Child's Play became next in line for a revival. Horror is currently in the midst of a huge popularity wave, evidenced by films like Get Out, Halloween, and Us (among countless others) achieving major levels of critical and commercial acclaim. In an age where there are few box office guarantees (just ask this summer's crop of tentpoles), horror is appealing for producers because of the low-risk, high reward element. These movies cost peanuts to make and the profit margins can go through the roof. It looks like Child's Play will fit right in line.
Unfortunately, there is no official Child's Play budget figure listed, so we have to resort to deductive reasoning to figure out a ballpark. The film was produced by Orion Pictures, a studio that specializes in low-budget horror. Some of their recent outings include The Prodigy ($6 million), Wish Upon ($12 million), and The Belko Experiment ($5 million). Child's Play likely fell in between somewhere in that range. It'd be realistic to say it cost $10 million at most, though it remains to be seen if the actual budget is reported after release.
Clearly, the bank was never going to be broken for a Child's Play reboot. While the franchise has a passionate fan base, this was always intended to be a smaller, niche release designed as counter-programming to the bigger summer blockbusters. The tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign waging war against Toy Story characters is proof of that. And with the latest Pixar film projected to break box office records during its opening weekend, even Orion knew they weren't a realistic challenger for the top spot on the charts. A micro budget for Child's Play is very strategic, since it ensures the film does not need to be a crossover hit in order to be considered successful. Perhaps the reboot will launch a new line of sequels.
Ideally, Child's Play will be able to turn a nice profit in a relatively quick period of time. Later this month, Annabelle Comes Home (the latest installment in the Conjuring universe) hits theaters, and that will definitely be a bigger draw than the return of Chucky. It'll be interesting to see how Child's Play fares at the box office, but at least it doesn't have to earn too much to make its money back.
- Child's Play (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019