(Image courtesy Magnolia Pictures)
The home-grown horror film The Signal, as an ultra low-budget film with a cast primarily of local actors (including Justin Welborn, pictured), probably had no reasonable chance to crack the top 10 highest-grossing movies for its opening weekend. The Atlanta-based filmmakers and Magnolia Pictures were probably hoping for a better showing than No. 37, however.
According to such movie tracking sites as Box Office Mojo and Variety, The Signal earned $144,836 over its opening weekend. It played on 160 screens, for a per-screen average of $905. Finding a comparable example is tricky. The relatively obscure horror film One Missed Call, which opened in early January, earned $12,511,473 on its opening weekend, for a $5,585 per-screen average on 2,240 screens. One Missed Call seems to have had a bigger mainstream marketing push than The Signal, though. Perhaps a better comparison is the more fringey horror flick Feast, which earned $54,556 on 146 screens on its opening weekend in 2006.
Reviews were mixed: Film review site Rotten Tomatoes currently gives it 53 percent. Out of 49 reviews, 26 rank it as "Fresh" and 23 as "Rotten."
This discussion on the Atlanta Films Forum message board discusses the results and whether Atlanta audiences turned out for the film's opening weekend.
Also, in an unpleasant case of life seeming to imitate art, two people were nonfatally stabbed at a screening of The Signal in Orange County, Calif. Considering that The Signal depicts people who go on violent rampages upon seeing a mysterious signal on television and other media, this is not the kind of publicity Magnolia Pictures would like to have.