For much of 2021 and 2022, as the industry has tried to recover from the pandemic, there were only one, maybe two movies per week making enough money to get by. Counterprogramming became harder to find, largely because studios seemingly had less interest in risking a movie underperforming in an uncertain marketplace. But 2023, just shy of a month in, has proved several times over that counterprogramming does work, and the right audiences will show up for the right movies.
Case in point, “Missing” is absolutely on track to be a big hit, probably on par with its predecessor. “Searching” earned a stellar $75.4 million from a tiny $880,000 budget. Granted, the budget for the follow-up was much higher, but still firmly in the low-budget range. Sony didn’t spend a fortune marketing it, and that has set it up for success from the jump. All the while, it didn’t have to climb higher than number four on the charts to get itself in a position to succeed. There is, without question, room for more at certain points of the year — it’s all about timing and programming.
A movie of this size doesn’t need droves of moviegoers to show up. It just needs its audience, and that audience is absolutely there on a weekend when no new blockbuster releases are taking all the spotlight. Sony is going to come out of this looking smart and, depending on how things shake out, we may end up with a third installment to round out this “missing persons case on a laptop” trilogy.
“Missing” is in theaters now.