In 1983, horror maestro Wes Craven created a new kind of monster in Freddy Krueger. In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Craven created a killer that attacked people in their dreams as they slept, a monster that was almost impossible to escape from. The idea of Freddy was a mix of a strange man that Craven saw through his window as a child and a news story of people dying mysteriously in their sleep.
The idea was fresh, and Craven created a brand-new horror franchise that saw box office success. The original franchise lasted seven movies before finally ending. Craven came back for one more with a film that was a few years ahead of its time, and then a decade later Freddy battled Jason. Here is a look at all the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies based on how much they grossed domestically.
9 WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE ($18.0M)
Sadly, one of the best movies in the entire franchise was also the one that grossed the least amount of money. Wes Craven's New Nightmare came out in 1994, three years after the franchise supposedly ended. What made it great was that it was self-referential.
The cast members of the original movie ended up haunted by Freddy, who was trying to break through to the real world through the script written by Wes Craven and the nightmares of actress Heather Langenkamp, who portrayed a fictional version of herself. The movie was ahead of its time, as Craven's Scream proved a few years later.
8 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD ($22.1M)
The fifth movie in the Nightmare on Elm Street series was the least successful of the franchise's original run at the box office. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child tried to push Freddy back to a darker place and away from the humor that the franchise added in the fourth film in the series.
The movie also went back in time and showed how Freddy's mother conceived him, and it was horrific. The fact that Freddy was targeting Alice's unborn child also turned some viewers away, and the movie barely broke the $22.1 million mark domestically.
7 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET ($25.5M)
The first movie in the series made $25.5 million, which was a nice total since it was a brand-new property and based on a subject matter that movie fans had never witnessed. However, because it was made in 1984 for an estimated $1.8 million, it was a massive success.
The film introduced the world to Freddy Krueger, a former child killer who died when parents trapped him and burned him alive. He returns now in the dreams of the children whose parents killed him and takes their lives while exposing their greatest fears. It is not until he targets Heather Langenkamp that he meets his match.
6 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE ($29.9M)
The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise hit a significant speed bump with its second movie. The film remains the most critically derided of the franchise because it changed the entire motif of the story. Freddy was pulled to the real world and became more of a regular stalker killer and less of a dream demon.
The film did make more than the original, but it was clear that the series needed to return to the dream world after this one to keep the franchise rolling towards big box office rewards. The movie follows Jesse, a boy who moves into Nancy's old house and finds himself possessed by Freddy.
5 FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE ($34.8M)
The final movie in the original Nightmare on Elm Street franchise eliminated the series' running title and instead was titled Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. This film was advertised to end the series and finally finish off Freddy Krueger once and for all.
The movie, released in 1991, jumps into the future year of 1999 and has Freddy return after a 10-year absence to kill every child in Springwood but one, who escapes the city limits and finds protection from Freddy, albeit with a case of amnesia. This finally leads Freddy's child back to town to pull her father out and kill him once and for all. There was 3D in this movie but only used sporadically. Viewers had to put their glasses on midway through the movie.
4 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS ($44.7M)
Arguably, the best film in the entire A Nightmare on Elm Street series was the third movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors. After the second movie failed to impress critics or fans, Chuck Russell took the franchise back to the dream world with a script by Frank Darabont.
Heather Langenkamp returned to help a new batch of kids who were hunted by Freddy in their dreams. What made this movie exciting was that the kids didn't try to pull Freddy out into the real world and instead went into their nightmares together and fought him on his turf. It was the first movie in the franchise to break $40 million.
3 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER ($49.3M)
The fourth movie in the series was A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Thanks to the brilliance of the third movie, the series was at an all-time high when this movie came out, and it fell just shy of the $50 million mark with what some critics called the best of the series.
The movie added a good touch of humor to the horror elements to create a great horror movie. The kills remained creative and the new heroine Alice added a nice touch to the series. This film was a highlight of the entire franchise when it comes to special effects work.
2 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) ($63.0M)
When it comes to box office gross, the best movies are not always the ones at the top. In 2010, Platinum Dunes brought A Nightmare on Elm Street back with a remake. They didn't bring back Robert Englund to portray Freddy Krueger, and while Jackie Earl Haley is great, it just wasn't the same.
The new movie wanted to use the original script ideas that Wes Craven did for his original movie, but they removed all the humor and quips to make this the scariest A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, but that was what made the original films so beloved. Despite that, it made $63 million -- the most of any Freddy solo movie.
1 FREDDY VS. JASON ($82.6M)
In what should come as no surprise, the highest gross for any A Nightmare on Elm Street movie came when it combined with the Friday the 13th franchise. In Freddy vs. Jason, the dream demon went into the nightmares of Jason Voorhees and started using him to kill people outside of Springwood.
However, over time, Jason realized he was being controlled and went first to Freddy in his nightmare and then pulled him out for a knockdown, drag-out fight in the real world. The movie was a huge fan favorite and grossed $82.6 million domestically and $114 million worldwide, the best for Freddy Krueger.