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Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-3275
  • E-ISSN: 2040-3283



This article provides a detailed examination of the production budget and then the opening, the ongoing and the total US and international box-office revenue of John Carpenter’s very influential 1982 terror film The Thing. It then uses this analysis to understand in more depth why the film was a commercial failure on its first release in relation to various hypothesized reasons for failure that have been proposed in the literature, and in relation to the commercial performances of Carpenter’s other genre films such as Halloween, The Fog and Escape from New York. It also examines some of the methods of financing used on Carpenter’s films and the impact of the commercial failure of The Thing on US horror films more widely. It argues, controversially, that of all the factors that have been considered, there was one main factor that accounted for the initial box-office failure of The Thing (very negative reviews); the other factors that have been suggested were either minor additional elements, or are seen not to apply to the film when they are considered in more detail.


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