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A Perfect Fit: 'The Exorcist: Believer' Strikes a Chord with Hispanic Audiences

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The Exorcist: Believer and Its Resonance with Hispanic Audiences

Universal's upcoming film, "The Exorcist: Believer," is generating significant interest among Hispanic audiences, according to insiders. This trend aligns with the growing popularity of religious-horror releases like "The Nun II" and "The Pope's Exorcist." Hispanic and Latino crowds are drawn to the unique emotional and scary aspects of these films, which are deeply rooted in their culture. The sequel, starring Leslie Odom Jr., continues the battle against demons and possession, captivating audiences with its intense storyline.

Anticipated Success and Market Competition

"The Exorcist: Believer" is set to open in over 3,600 theaters, including premium formats, and is expected to earn up to $30 million in its opening weekend. However, it faces tough competition, including Taylor Swift's concert film and a crowded horror movie market, as Halloween approaches. The horror genre remains immensely popular, with studios continuously meeting the demand for thrilling experiences from avid moviegoers.

The Influence of Hispanic Viewers

Hispanic and Latino audiences play a significant role in determining the success of "The Exorcist: Believer" at the box office. Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak Audience Survey reveals that they represent 26% of horror movie audiences, compared to 20% for other genres. Horror films hold a special place in the hearts of Latino moviegoers, with communal experiences often enjoyed in big cities with multiple cinemas nearby.

A Rich History of Hispanic Horror

Hispanic audiences' affinity for horror dates back decades. In 1931, Universal released a Spanish-language version of "Dracula," which has become a cult classic. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's macabre and fantastical tales have also garnered widespread acclaim. Furthermore, during the opening weekend of "Saw X," Hispanic viewers made up a staggering 44% of the audience.

Religion and Hispanic Culture

Religion holds a significant place in Hispanic culture, with Catholicism being the predominant faith among Latinos. The original "Exorcist" film, based on William Peter Blatty's novel, delves into the dogma and rituals of Roman Catholicism. This religious foundation resonates deeply with Hispanic viewers, who find comfort and intrigue in the exploration of faith, ritual, and the battle against evil.

Evolution and Adaptation

As the Hispanic population in the United States undergoes shifts in religious affiliation, the horror genre continues to captivate audiences regardless of their beliefs. "The Exorcist: Believer" embraces a broader religious sandbox, incorporating voodoo and evangelical rituals alongside Catholicism. This expansion reflects the changing landscape among Latinos, where a growing number are unaffiliated with any religion.

The Mystery of Faith and the Unknown

Director David Gordon Green, known for his work on "The Righteous Gemstones," aims to tap into the curiosity and interest in the unknown that transcends religious boundaries. He believes that regardless of one's faith, there is a universal fascination with exploring the mysteries of the world. By venturing beyond Catholicism, the film encompasses a vast world of supernatural myths and ideas from various cultures.

The Future of "The Exorcist" Franchise

While religious affiliation among Latinos is shifting, religion remains an integral part of "The Exorcist" franchise. The planned trilogy's next installment is scheduled for release on Good Friday in 2025. As the series evolves, it will continue to navigate the intersection of faith, horror, and the enduring appeal of the unknown. Disclosure: CNBC's parent company, NBCUniversal, is the distributor of "The Exorcist: Believer."

Impact on New Business Formation

The upcoming release of "The Exorcist: Believer" and its anticipated resonance with Hispanic audiences could potentially influence the formation of new businesses. The film's expected success, despite stiff competition, highlights the enduring popularity of the horror genre, particularly among Hispanic and Latino viewers.

Market Opportunities

This trend could present a lucrative opportunity for startups and new businesses, especially those in the entertainment and media sectors. The strong interest from Hispanic audiences in horror films, coupled with their significant representation in the box office demographic, could be a key factor to consider in business planning and strategy.
Adapting to Cultural Shifts
Moreover, the evolution and adaptation of the horror genre to encompass a broader religious sandbox, as seen in "The Exorcist: Believer," could offer insights for new businesses. As the Hispanic population in the United States undergoes shifts in religious affiliation, businesses that can adapt to these cultural changes could potentially tap into a growing market segment.
Exploring the Unknown
The universal fascination with exploring the mysteries of the world, as highlighted by director David Gordon Green, could also inspire innovative business ideas. Startups that can creatively engage with this curiosity and interest in the unknown may find a receptive audience among horror film fans.

Future of the Franchise

As the "The Exorcist" franchise continues to evolve, it offers a model for new businesses on how to navigate the intersection of faith, horror, and the enduring appeal of the unknown. The planned trilogy's next installment's release on Good Friday in 2025 could also provide a timely opportunity for businesses to launch related products or services. In essence, the anticipated success of "The Exorcist: Believer" and its resonance with Hispanic audiences could shape the landscape for new business formation, offering valuable market insights and opportunities.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/10/05/the-exorcist-believer-attracts-hispanic-audiences.html
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