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The history of the U.S. box office is a tricky situation for horror buffs to delve into in full, as it's very hard to find comprehensive data for many years prior to the early 1980s.

This article has all of the horror films rated from #2 to #10 for the weekend box office from c. 1982 to the present-day, while older films are mostly taken from Variety's top 50 weekly grossing films charts, that ran from 1969 up to 1990, and is hereby the main source prior to the weekend box office starting up in 1982, as well as the different methods of box office reporting for much older movies that Variety has tracked since 1922.

After 1982, studios widely report the weekend grosses, which has been a tradition by the IMDb owned Box Office Mojo ever since, and makes up the bulk of a film's earnings, making it have a broader appeal. Prior to 1969, Variety had other ways of ranking box office earnings, but it wasn't really compiled as a chart, as such. More so, it was really just an indicator of the top films via key cities, and their estimated grosses.

Note that #1 movies are NOT included on this page, but they can be viewed on the page for that information, here...

See also: https://horror.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_box_office_number-one_horror_films_in_the_United_States

1920s Edit

  • One Exciting Night
  • The Cat and the Canary
  • The Headless Horseman
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • The Unknown
  • The Gorilla
  • The Magician
  • Dante's Inferno
  • The Haunted House
  • The Bat
  • A Blind Bargain
  • The Wizard (lost film)
  • The Penalty
  • Faust
  • The Ghost Breaker

Note: The beginning of the U.S. box office can be traced back to 1922. Variety started tracking film grosses from certain theatres and cities, starting on 22 February of that year. While Variety never composed these grosses as a chart until much later on, a chart format is used in Leonidas Fragias' chart books, that are sold on Amazon.

1930s Edit

  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • Son of Frankenstein
  • Werewolf of London
  • White Zombie
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Mad Love
  • Island of Lost Souls
  • Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • The Bat Whispers
  • The Raven
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu
  • Mystery of the Wax Museum
  • Doctor X
  • The Devil Doll
  • Murders in the Zoo
  • Dracula
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Mummy
  • The Cat Creeps
  • Freaks
  • Svengali

1940s Edit

  • The Ghost of Frankenstein
  • Dr. Cyclops
  • The Uninvited
  • The Ghost Breakers
  • The Lodger
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

1950s Edit

  • Tarantula
  • Them!
  • The Fly / Space Master X-7
  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • The Curse of Frankenstein / X the Unknown
  • Rodan! The Flying Monster
  • Attack of the Crab Monsters / Not of this Earth
  • Revenge of the Creature / Cult of the Cobra
  • It Came from Beneath the Sea / Creature with the Atom Brain
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Horror of Dracula / The Thing That Couldn't Die
  • House on Haunted Hill
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man
  • The Strange Door
  • The Black Scorpion 
  • The Maze
  • The Mad Magician 
  • The Bad Seed
  • This Island Earth
  • Macabre
  • Curucu, Beast of the Amazon / The Mole People
  • The Thing from Another World
  • Earth vs. The Flying Saucers / The Werewolf
  • Cat Girl (c/w sci-fi feature, The Amazing Colossal Man)
  • Scared Stiff

1960s Edit

  • Psycho
  • Circus of Horrors
  • The Brides of Dracula / The Leech Woman
  • The Innocents
  • Scream of Fear
  • Wait Until Dark
  • Homicidal
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Mask
  • The Haunting
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • Fall of the House of Usher

Note: Beginning from April of 1969, these films are taken from Variety's top 50 grossing films charts.

  • Eye of the Cat
  • Nightmare in Wax / Blood of Dracula's Castle (re-issue)
  • Spirits of the Dead
  • The Green Slime
  • The Oblong Box
  • Paranoia
  • The Creature with the Blue Hand (re-issued in the 1970s, with The Beast of the Yellow Night)
  • The House That Screamed
  • The War of the Gargantuas (c/w sci-fi film, Invasion of Astro-Monster)

1970s Edit

  • Sssssss / The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
  • Frogs / Godzilla vs. Hedorah
  • Don't Look in the Basement / The Last House on the Left
  • Reflection of Fear / The Creeping Flesh
  • Beast of Blood / Creatures of Evil
  • Beast of the Yellow Night
  • Vampire Circus / Countess Dracula
  • Dracula A.D. 1972 / Crescendo
  • The Brotherhood of Satan / Fragment of Fear
  • The Terminal Man
  • The Devil's Rain
  • Coma
  • Let's Scare Jessica to Death
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • The House by the Lake
  • The House of Exorcism
  • The Reincarnation of Peter Proud
  • Scum of the Earth
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek
  • Cry of the Banshee
  • Night of Dark Shadows
  • Bug
  • Flesh for Frankenstein
  • Black Magic
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown
  • The House That Vanished
  • The Sentinel
  • The Other
  • The Legacy
  • The Possession of Joel Delaney
  • Night Watch
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic
  • Rabid
  • Piranha
  • Deep Red
  • Orca
  • Squirm
  • Zombie Flesh Eaters
  • Dogs
  • Grizzly
  • Snuff
  • The Food of the Gods
  • Abby
  • Ruby
  • Day of the Animals
  • Phantasm
  • Mansion of the Doomed
  • Tales That Witness Madness
  • Ben
  • The Medusa Touch
  • The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue
  • Theatre of Blood
  • Black Christmas
  • Halloween
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • Don't Look Now
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Alice, Sweet Alice
  • Vampira
  • Race with the Devil
  • The Incredible Melting Man
  • The Monster
  • Demon Seed
  • Laserblast
  • The Cat O'Nine Tails
  • Embryo
  • The Mephisto Waltz
  • The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave
  • Goodbye Gemini
  • Scream and Scream Again
  • Shadow of the Hawk
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • Torso
  • Audrey Rose
  • It Lives Again
  • Scream Blacula Scream
  • Suspiria
  • The Stepford Wives
  • Equinox
  • The Asphyx
  • The Swarm
  • Count Yorga, Vampire
  • House of Dark Shadows
  • You'll Like My Mother
  • Nightwing
  • The Abdominable Dr. Phibes
  • The House That Dripped Blood
  • Asylum
  • Tales from the Crypt
  • From Beyond the Grave
  • The Vault of Horror
  • The Car
  • Mark of the Devil
  • Mark of the Devil II
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Patrick
  • Beyond the Door
  • Shock
  • Sisters

1980s Edit

The following are Variety magazine related weekly films, before the weekend box office began in 1982. Films released from 1983 onward in the weekly top 50 grossing films charts, are listed below.

  • Maniac
  • He Knows You're Alone
  • Terror Train
  • The Godsend
  • Don't Answer the Phone!
  • Don't Go in the House
  • Schizoid
  • Fear No Evil
  • The Fan
  • The Hearse
  • The Children
  • The Funhouse
  • Without Warning
  • Ghost Story
  • Mother's Day
  • Deadly Blessing
  • Saturn 3
  • Hell Night
  • Night School
  • Galaxy of Terror
  • Demonoid: Messenger of Death
  • Blood Beach
  • Humanoids from the Deep
  • Death Ship
  • Nightmares in a Damaged Brain
  • Fade to Black
  • The Shining
  • The Boogey Man
  • The Changeling
  • Prom Night
  • Altered States
  • My Bloody Valentine

The weekend box office began in early 1982.

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
  • Critters
  • Critters 2
  • The Hidden
  • Silent Rage
  • Silver Bullet
  • Manhunter
  • Bad Dreams
  • Angel Heart
  • Deadly Friend
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
  • Maximum Overdrive
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie
  • Nightmares
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
  • Visiting Hours
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Dead Heat
  • Tower of Evil (re-issue)
  • The Unholy
  • Christine
  • Class Reunion
  • Night of the Comet
  • Cat People
  • Phantasm II
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  • Cat's Eye
  • Creepshow 2
  • Poltergeist
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side
  • Poltergeist III
  • The Gate
  • Trick or Treat
  • Firestarter
  • Children of the Corn
  • The Seventh Sign
  • Witchboard
  • Videodrome
  • Psycho II
  • Jaws: The Revenge
  • Gremlins
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night
  • The Thing
  • Fright Night
  • The Company of Wolves
  • The Lost Boys
  • Cujo
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
  • Troll
  • Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
  • Shocker
  • House II: The Second Story
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow
  • April Fool's Day
  • The Dead Zone
  • Prince of Darkness
  • Invaders from Mars
  • Hellraiser
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • The Return of the Living Dead
  • Return of the Living Dead Part II
  • The Blob
  • My Demon Lover
  • Lifeforce
  • The Entity
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Hunger
  • Dead Calm
  • Transylvania 6-5000
  • The Incubus
  • The Sender
  • Deepstar Six
  • The Believers
  • Leviathan
  • Venom
  • Dreamscape
  • Psycho III
  • The Curse
  • The Wraith
  • Terror in the Aisles

Weekly charted films here are taken from Box Office Mojo (and Variety) after 1982:

  • Strange Invaders
  • Demons
  • Day of the Dead
  • Zombie Creeping Flesh
  • Zombie Holocaust
  • Humongous
  • Forbidden World
  • Funeral Home
  • The Evil Dead
  • The Power
  • One Dark Night
  • Ghoulies
  • Night Train to Terror
  • Alone in the Dark
  • Curtains
  • The Slayer
  • The Boogens
  • Parasite
  • Q
  • Madman
  • From Beyond
  • Hellhole
  • Evilspeak
  • The Burning
  • City of the Living Dead
  • Saturday the 14th
  • Of Unknown Origin
  • Xtro
  • The Kiss
  • Bloodtide
  • The Beast Within
  • CHUD
  • Pieces
  • Maniac Cop
  • Impulse

1990s Edit

  • Tremors
  • Frankenstein
  • Species
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
  • Alien: Resurrection
  • Predator 2
  • Lisa
  • Hideaway
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
  • Urban Legend
  • Scream
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
  • End of Days
  • Bride of Chucky
  • Child's Play 3
  • The Puppet Masters
  • Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • Candyman
  • Brainscan
  • In the Mouth of Madness
  • Village of the Damned
  • Dark Angel
  • Vampire in Brooklyn
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It
  • Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh
  • Phantoms
  • The Prophecy
  • Wishmaster
  • Warlock: The Armaggedon
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
  • Halloween H20
  • Hellraiser: Bloodline
  • The Devil's Advocate
  • The Faculty
  • Spawn
  • Psycho
  • The First Power
  • The Lawnmower Man
  • The Dark Half
  • Leprechaun
  • Species II
  • The Rage: Carrie 2
  • Stir of Echoes
  • Mimic
  • Lake Placid
  • Bats
  • Screamers
  • An American Werewolf in Paris
  • Children of the Corn II: The Sacrifice
  • Army of Darkness
  • Virus
  • Idle Hands
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • The Blair Witch Project
  • Tales from the Hood
  • Demon Knight
  • Lord of Illusions
  • Disturing Behavior
  • Deep Rising
  • Beloved
  • Raising Cain
  • Split Second
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
  • Dr. Giggles
  • Body Bags
  • Ghost in the Machine
  • The Vanishing
  • My Boyfriend's Back
  • Man's Best Friend
  • Bordello of Blood
  • The Frighteners
  • Thinner
  • Diabolique
  • Body Parts
  • Popcorn
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • The Guardian
  • Arachnophobia
  • Nightbreed
  • Def by Temptation

2000s Edit

  • The Abandoned (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • The Gravedancers (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • Penny Dreadful (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • Dark Ride (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • The Hamiltons (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • Reincarnation (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • Wicked Little Things (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • Unrest (part of the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror (bonus film at the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • The Tripper (bonus film at the "8 Films to Die For" special event)
  • The Gift
  • Shadow of the Vampire
  • Supernova
  • Lost Souls
  • Pitch Black
  • Dracula 2001
  • Bless the Child
  • Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
  • Final Destination
  • The Forsaken
  • Bones
  • Ghosts of Mars
  • Valentine
  • Jason X
  • Thir13en Ghosts
  • Feardotcom
  • The Others
  • They
  • Darkness
  • Cabin Fever
  • Ghost Shop
  • Halloween: Resurrection
  • The Mothman Prophecies
  • Hellboy
  • The Stepford Wives
  • Blade: Trinity
  • Saw
  • Exorcist: The Beginning
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse
  • Seed of Chucky
  • Suspect Zero
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
  • Club Dread
  • Gothika
  • Final Destination 2
  • Dreamcatcher
  • Open Water
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • Willard
  • Wrong Turn
  • High Tension
  • House of the Dead
  • The Sin Eater
  • Resident Evil
  • 28 Days Later...
  • Paradise Lost
  • The Return
  • Constantine
  • White Noise
  • The Skeleton Key
  • House of Wax
  • The Descent
  • Cursed
  • Dark Water
  • Land of the Dead
  • An American Haunting
  • The Devil's Rejects
  • Cry Wolf
  • The Cave
  • Mindhunters
  • AVP: Alien vs. Predator
  • Bug
  • See No Evil
  • Slither
  • Pulse
  • Stay Alive
  • The Wicker Man
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • The Omen
  • Final Destination 3
  • Saw V
  • Saw VI
  • P2
  • The Orphanage
  • Dead Silence
  • Hostel: Part II
  • Vacancy
  • The Hills Have Eyes II
  • Perfect Stranger
  • Planet Terror
  • The Mist
  • 28 Weeks Later
  • The Reaping
  • The Unborn
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Halloween II
  • The Last House on the Left
  • Orphan
  • Daybreakers
  • The Uninvited
  • Splice
  • Jennifer's Body
  • The Fourth Kind
  • Sorority Row
  • Pandorum
  • Whiteout
  • Case 39
  • Quarantine
  • The Strangers
  • The Eye
  • One Missed Call
  • Mirrors
  • Shutter
  • The X Files: I Want to Believe
  • The Haunting of Molly Hartley
  • The Ruins
  • 1408
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • AVPR: Alien vs Predator Requiem
  • The Haunting in Connecticut
  • My Bloody Valentine
  • Scary Movie 2
  • The Night Listener
  • The Fourth Kind

2010s Edit

  • Crawl
  • Child's Play
  • It Follows
  • The Quiet Ones
  • As Above, So Below
  • Devil's Due
  • Deliver Us From Evil
  • The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
  • Unfriended
  • Annabelle
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • The Intruder
  • Unfriended: Dark Web
  • Hell Fest
  • Upgrade
  • The Possession of Hannah Grace
  • The First Purge
  • Insidious: The Last Key
  • Friend Request
  • Morgan
  • Incarnate
  • Meet the Black
  • A Cure for Wellness
  • Shut In
  • Life
  • Rings
  • The Bye Bye Man
  • The Witch
  • The Gallows
  • The Lazarus Effect
  • Crimson Peak
  • The Boy Next Door
  • Insidious: Chapter 3
  • Poltergeist
  • The Visit
  • Flatliners
  • Mother!
  • It Comes at Night
  • Wish Upon
  • Overlord
  • Annihilation
  • Slender Man
  • Truth or Dare
  • Hereditary
  • Brightburn
  • My Soul to Take
  • Let Me In
  • The Collection
  • Devil
  • Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
  • The Crazies
  • The Green Inferno
  • World War Z
  • Insidious
  • The Wolfman
  • The Last Exorcism
  • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
  • Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
  • Silent House
  • Apollo 18
  • You're Next
  • The Thing
  • Fright Night
  • The Darkest Hour
  • Scream 4
  • Shark Night 3D
  • Priest
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • The Woman in Black
  • Sinister
  • Sinister 2
  • Chernobyl Diaries
  • House at the End of the Street
  • Silent Hill: Revelation
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
  • Annabelle Comes Home
  • Escape Room
  • Ma
  • Pet Semetary
  • The Intruder
  • Happy Death Day 2U
  • Ready or Not
  • 47 Meters Down
  • 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
  • Midsommar
  • The Prodigy
  • Don't Let Go
  • The Dead Don't Die
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • The Strangers: Prey at Night
  • Final Destination 5
  • Red Riding Hood
  • Scary Movie 5
  • The Darkness
  • The Belko Experiment
  • Dead Awake
  • Blair Witch
  • The Forest
  • When the Bough Breaks
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
  • Ouija: Origin of Evil
  • The Boy
  • The Shallows
  • Lights Out
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Pyramid
  • The Last Exorcism 2
  • Dark Skies
  • Oculus
  • The Call
  • Carrie
  • Dark Shadows
  • Underworld Awakening
  • Followed
  • The Other Lamb
  • The Wretched

2020s Edit

  • Gretel & Hansel
  • Fantasy Island
  • The Hunt
  • The Grudge
  • Underwater
  • Brahms: The Boy II
  • The Turning
  • We Summon the Darkness (Box Office Mojo, The Numbers)
  • Horror Nights (The Numbers)
  • Becky
  • Relic
  • Peninsula

 Any films highlighted in bold reached their highest possible peak position, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the U.S. film industry was forced to put most of the box office data on hold in March of that year, also postponing releases and/or making movies available through early access rentals. Movies shown in select theatres can earn very little money (such as "The Other Lamb").

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