Starting in the '70s with movies like Black Christmas and Halloween, the slasher horror movie dominated the genre. The good thing about these movies and ones that followed in the Friday the 13th series was that they were made on the cheap, and that made it easy to make back their budgets at the box office. This fact is important since slasher horror movies were never huge moneymakers, despite multitudes of sequels.
However, that does not mean they were not profitable. In recent years, there have been several slasher horror movies that finally started breaking through and making a lot of money. Sadly, many of these were remakes of superior slasher movies from the '70s and '80s. There are a few exceptions, but here is a look at the 10 highest-grossing slasher films of all-time.
10 HALLOWEEN (2007) - $58 MILLION
In 1976, John Carpenter created the movie that changed the landscape of horror. While Black Christmas came first, it was Carpenter's Halloween that set the slasher film craze on fire as Michael Myers cut through a regular neighborhood on Halloween, targeting babysitters and their charges.
After several sequels and at least one reboot, Halloween returned in 2007 with Rob Zombie at the helm. Zombie made the movie more about Michael Myers, while the original kept him a mystery, and it ended up grossing $58 million domestically and $80 million worldwide. His sequel in 2009 hit a total of $39 million worldwide, showing fans didn't seem to want more of his Michael Myers.
9 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) - $63 MILLION
In 1984, Wes Craven created a new kind of monster, one that attacked children in their dreams. This monster was Freddy Krueger, a former child murderer killed by the parents on Elm Street who now lives on to haunt and kill the children who live on that street now. The best movie in his series was the fourth, which made $49 million.
In 2010, a remake was made of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and it was a critical disaster, certified rotten by both critics and fans. However, it ended up with a higher box office take than any previous Freddy solo movie, with a $63 million domestic take and $115 million worldwide.
8 FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) - $65 MILLION
The year before Freddy returned to theaters, Jason Voorhees was back as well. Friday the 13th received a remake, and one positive thing to say about it is that it starred Jared Padalecki of Supernatural fame. Actually, there is one other compliment — it was better than the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake.
Friday the 13th took the best moments of the first few movies and combined them to make one film that wasn't actually all that bad. It ended up making $65 million domestically, and its opening weekend of $40 million was bigger than the total box office take of any other Friday the 13th film.
7 I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER - $72 MILLION
I Know What You Did Last Summer was a terrible movie, with some good young actors. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar teamed up here before they worked together again in the much better film, Scooby-Doo.
Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ryan Phillippe also starred in the film about some kids who covered up an accidental hit and run and then ended up hunted down by the man they thought they killed. The movie made an impressive $72 million domestically and $125 million worldwide, capitalizing on the success of the similar styled movie Scream.
6 THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003) - $80 MILLION
One of the most iconic horror movies in history is the 1974 slasher movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The film follows some kids who happen upon a family who loves to kill strangers to use them to create award-winning meat that they sell. There is also a deranged psycho in the family known as Leatherface.
That movie made $30 million and is still considered a masterpiece. In 2003, a remake came with the same name and ended up as a big success. The film, starring Jessica Biel and produced by Michael Bay, made $80 million domestically and $107 million worldwide.
5 FREDDY VS JASON - $82 MILLION
It seems almost funny, but the biggest box office hit from the original Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies came when the two horror slasher icons teamed up to battle one another to the death. In what could have been a flop designed just for fanboys, the film was a loving homage to both franchises.
The movie made more than double the best Friday the 13th movie and was also the top of Freddy's outings as well, with Freddy haunting Jason's nightmares and having him kill for him before Jason realized what was going on and fought back. It made $82 million in the U.S. and $114 million worldwide.
4 SCREAM 3 - $89 MILLION
In the law of diminishing returns, Scream 3 had the worst box office totals of any movie in that franchise until a fourth movie came along in 2011 that completely flopped at the box office. The movie saw Sidney (Neve Campbell) go into seclusion following the events of the first two movies.
This movie took the self-references one step further by having a movie made about the killings from the first two movies. However, when the cast of the fictional movie Stab starts dying at the hands of a new Ghostface killer, Sydney heads to Hollywood and finally learns the truth about what really happened concerning her mother's murder.
3 SCREAM 2 - $101 MILLION
The second Scream movie was one of only three slasher films to break the $100 million mark domestically. It also finished with a high $172 million worldwide, almost eclipsing the first movie in the franchise.
This series starts up two years after the first movie and finds Sydney as a college student who becomes the target of a copycat serial killer using the Ghostface identity. The survivors of the first movie return to help their friend only to learn that the killer is more than a copycat and is out for revenge following the deaths from the first film.
2 SCREAM - $103 MILLION
For 23 years, Scream was the highest-grossing slasher film of all-time, finally falling in 2019 to a Halloween sequel. In 1996, horror films had no real identity. Slasher movies had died out, and there was nothing new as a subgenre for horror. However, when Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson created Scream, it ushered in a new teen-centric self-referential slasher film craze that took Hollywood by storm.
The movie focused on a group of kids who had watched horror movies their entire life. When a new serial killer called Ghostface starts to kill people and torment Sydney Prescott, he uses horror film knowledge in his game, and the kids have to figure out the horror conventions to stay alive. It made $103 million domestically and $173 million worldwide.
1 HALLOWEEN (2019) - $159 MILLION
While Rob Zombie's Halloween revival in 2007 was a success, his sequel was a huge flop. That made it somewhat surprising that 10 years later, the franchise was reignited with a film that was a direct sequel to the very first Halloween movie and brought back Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role.
Curtis' Laurie Strode is now a grandmother who lives a secluded life, prepared for a possible return of Michael Myers. She gets what she feared and battles the killer with her daughter and granddaughter by her side. It was a massive success, hitting $159 million in the U.S. and an eye-popping $255 million worldwide.