The Surprising Continued Success of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Series

The success of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film (well, the dropped the Massacre moniker) has been something of a shock. Honestly, it also shocked me because I thought the series was deader than dead and the Michael Bay remake's success was an anomaly.

As of this writing, Texas Chainsaw 3D has earned about $25 million domestically which is 3x the $8 million it cost to make. This follows up on the failure of the previous Texas Chainsaw prequel. Then again, that failure made $31 million at the box office which was way down from the $80+ million the Michael Bay version made. The first Texas Chainsaw Massacre made tens upon tens of millions of dollars over the years. Not a bad sum for a horror film shot on a budget of around $100,000. The film played for years and I remember the successful 1983 re-release that did shockingly well ($5+ million) in theaters. The television commercials still had the power to shock even in the slasher movie era crazy 1980s.

Two sequels where made and they were flops. The silly TCM2 was made only because the first two movies of director Tobe Hooper's three picture deal with Cannon Films were flops. The third film was made by New Line Cinema in 1990 during a very dark period when horror movies were just not doing well at the box office. It seemed the series was one that would never, ever have any successful sequels because it was a leftover relic of the early 1970s drive-in era. Honestly, for many, many years, this assessment was true. Most shockingly, the TCM series is once again a hit. Another sequel is scheduled to be filmed later this year. We will see how it does.

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