How a puppet film makes a smash hit at the box office

You really have to see it for yourself.

The film has great horror credentials – it was written by Akela Cooper (Malignant) and produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal activity, we the black phone) and Australian James Wan (Saw, The Conjuration) – but it’s this surreal comedy that generated most of the hype surrounding the film.

The dance sequence in particular became an instant meme.

Oh, this dance is everywhere! It seems like it was made to go viral.

The marketing for the film certainly wasn’t subtle. Early screenings and promotional events for the film featured troupes of dead-eyed young women performing the routine, and the hashtag #megandancechallenge has more than 9.9 million views on TikTok.

But that doesn’t mean the hype is entirely cynical or contrived. The film seems well aware of how goofy it can be, and those intentionally memorable moments really resonate with younger (and especially queer) viewers who appreciate absurd and campy content.

As a critic wrote for the hollywood reporter, M3GAN is “a horror film for the TikTok generation” – and that’s a good thing! This means the film deals with issues relevant to its time (like all good horror movies) while also inviting younger viewers into a genre often obsessed with villains from decades past.

But is the film really supposed to be good?

Yes! M3GAN currently sits 94 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


diversity Critic Owen Gleiberman has praised the film, saying it’s not just “a movie about a killer doll who knows how to use a nail gun,” but a “cheesy cautionary tale” with plenty of wit and style. and indiewireKate Erbland, film editor of , said the film was a perfect blend of camp, social satire and real-life terror, before ending her review with a one-word exclamation: “Oscars!”

Everyone agrees that it’s also a film best seen with others. The joys of both horror and weird comedy are really heightened when witnessed in the theater with a hundred or so other deranged people.

What I hear is that M3GAN the killer doll is saving the cinema.

Though the global box office is still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels, horror films like this continue to surpass their weight! With low budget original films like Smile, barbarian and The black phone with everyone seeing massive success in 2022, it’s clear audiences are still in for a good scare — and M3GANThe early box office success of bodes well that the trend will continue.

Next to see: cocaine bear, a similarly memorable horror comedy about a murderous bear who takes cocaine (out February 23). Whatever criticism you may have, 2023 movies are anything but boring.

Correction: A previous version of this story said Avatar: The Way of Water had a budget ten times as high M3GAN. The blockbuster’s budget was roughly 20 times that of the horror film.

Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered to you every Thursday. How a puppet film makes a smash hit at the box office

Jaclyn Diaz

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