In 2016, writer/director Fede Alvarez surprised the world with Don’t Breathe, starring Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Stephen Lang; The horror film was both a critical and commercial success, boasting an impressive 88% rotten tomatoes score and making $157.1 million. The movie was about three thieves who break into a blind veteran’s house to steal a big cash settlement he received following his daughter’s death. Unfortunately for Rocky, Alex, and Money, the blind man isn’t some helpless victim and the young thieves must fight for their lives. Naturally, with the huge success of a film comes a sequel.
That sequel was officially released on August 13, 2021, focusing on The Blind Man (or Norman Nordstorm) prior to the events of the first film. Overall, the premise is similar to the first film; however, the Blind Man is the lead here, as the military veteran must protect a young orphan from a group of thugs who break into his home. Upon release, the movie got a lot of middle-of-the-road reviews and is currently standing at 39% on rotten tomatoes.
Despite not meeting the critical acclaim of the first film, Don’t Breathe 2 had an audience due to the first film’s reception by most moviegoers. However, over half of the audiences failed to see the sequel, with the opening weekend numbers being nearly $10 million domestically. The first film opened with nearly $27 million off of a $9.9 million budget. So, what happened? Why did the sequel fail to resonate with audiences this time around? Of course, every movie released these days has its box office affected by the pandemic; however, let’s dig deeper into the possible reasons Don’t Breathe 2 was ignored by most moviegoers.
Don’t Breathe 2 Was Barely Advertised Before Its Release
Raise your hand if you knew that Don’t Breathe 2 was coming out on August 13th. If you didn’t then that’s okay as the film wasn’t strongly marketed before its release. Considering the fact that the film was such a box office success in 2016, it’s actually baffling that Screen Gems didn’t market the hell out of the sequel. The film stars the most compelling character in the first film, The Blind Man, thus following the story of this military veteran would’ve surely gotten the attention of most of its audience. Don’t Breathe 2 has some gorgeous shots and the good action should’ve been the main highlight in the advertisement. Who wouldn’t want to see Stephen Lang kick some ass again? The studio probably didn’t have full confidence in the sequel thus the limited advertisement. The lack of buzz once the trailer and reviews dropped also made matters worse for the new film overall.
People Hated The Blind Man Character From The First Film
There’s just no dancing around what Norman did in the first film. He kidnapped and held an innocent woman hostage, and kinda sorta raped her with a turkey baster. This twist put the military veteran in the despicable human being category and it’s hard to side with a man who’s done something so deplorable. Pairing him with a child that he must protect still doesn’t wash the stink of his actions in the first film. Is Norman an interesting character? Definitely, and it would’ve been wise if the film was more of a character-driven piece instead of a minor rehash of the first film. Granted, he still would’ve been an unlikeable presence; however, it could’ve been an interesting piece on a man’s struggle to cope with pain and loss.
Most Fans Of The First Film Probably Deemed The Sequel Unnecessary
Was there really a need for a sequel? While the first film did tease something more once it was revealed that The Blind Man was still alive, the storyline was too thin to justify another film moving forward. Obviously, the sequel was nothing more than an unnecessary cash grab to capitalize off the success of the first film. This happened with The Hangover, Ted, Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project, and dozens of more films that’s come out of the Hollywood factory. In order for this trick to work then the sequel has to actually be good or better than its predecessor, which clearly wasn’t the case for Don’t Breathe 2. With a pandemic still going on, audiences are picking and choosing which film is worth going to the theaters these days. Perhaps Don’t Breathe 2 will find success in the digital and POV market; however, there’s no doubt that the film is a major disappointment.