The Grudge reboot, Grudge, has moved from June 21, 2019 to a January 3, 2020 release date. The hit Japanese supernatural horror brand The Grudge originally got a U.S. makeover back in 2004. Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in the film as an American care worker living in Tokyo who encounters a vengeful spirit when she goes to care for an older woman whose home (to put it mildly) has a dark history. While not as well-received as Gore Verbinski's own J-horror remake, The Ring, from two years earlier, the American Grudge was extremely profitable at the box office, thanks to its $10 million budget.
A sequel titled The Grudge 2 came out two years later, but earned worse reviews and far less at the global box office, despite costing twice as much to make as its predecessor. By the time The Grudge 3 hit the scene in 2009, the franchise had been relegated to direct to video status and was all but dead in the water. However, three years ago, the Japanese Grudge made a comeback with a modestly successful crossover that pitted its evil ghost, Sadako, against the equally malicious spirit Kayako from The Ring. The series is now getting a U.S. reboot in the form of Grudge - though, turns out, horror fans will have to wait much longer than expected to see it.
Deadline is reporting that Grudge will now hit theaters on January 3, 2020. Interestingly, Grudge was originally scheduled to arrive in August 2019, before Sony and Screen Gems moved the film up three months to June. Now, they've decided to push it out of 2019 altogether.
There are a few potential explanations for why Grudge has been moved to January next year. For starters, the first weekend of January has been a lucrative frame for horror movie releases in recent years. Back in 2018, for example, Insidious: The Last Key (a film that, like Grudge, stars Lin Shaye) dominated the first weekend in January with a sizable $29.5 million opening weekend on a $10 million budget. Sony enjoyed a similar success this year with Escape Room, a suspenseful horror-thriller that doubled its $9 million budget in its first weekend playing in theaters. The official budget for Grudge hasn't been revealed yet but, based on the price tags for the previous films in the series, it too should only cost around $10 million and could easily double that next January, thanks to the lack of competition for horror entertainment that time of year.
Further, Grudge has a better shot of commercial success in January than it had before, on its previous June 2019 date. The latter would've pitted the film against the Child's Play reboot during its opening weekend, followed by the shark horror sequel 47 Meters Down: Uncaged just a week later. Admittedly, Blumhouse also has an untitled film scheduled to arrive on the same day as Grudge now, but it's entirely possible that will have changed by the time 2020 rolls around. Failing that, there's a proper chance that (as Deadline points out) Grudge - which is expected to be R-rated - will target older horror movie buffs, while the new Blumhouse horror and/or thriller offering goes after the PG-13 crowd.
As for Grudge's critical prospects: a move to early January isn't exactly a vote of confidence for any movie, be it a low-budget horror film or not. Still, after the franchise hit back to back lows with The Grudge 2 & 3, there's really nowhere for the reboot to go but up, at this point. Grudge director Nicolas Pesce is also coming off the well-received horror-comedy Piercing, which further bodes well for his efforts here.
- Grudge (2020) release date: Jan 03, 2020