John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ Makes Surprising Box Office Reappearance

Nothing speaks to a film’s cultural impact quite like making the box office top ten four decades after first releasing to theaters. The enduring passion that fans have for John Carpenter‘s 1982 horror classic The Thing has achieved just that after its forty-year anniversary re-release with Fathom on June 19. Despite all complications, and the re-release taking place on a Sunday, The Thing snagged the ninth spot in the box office reports at $500K.

In spite of the factors that worked against it, The Thing took the form of a box-office-topping 2022 summer release this past weekend. First announced back in May, fans were given a short window of time by Fathom Events to clear their schedules for one week of June, with only two showings available – a Sunday and Wednesday. Still, this horror staple’s theatrical return garnered plenty of excitement on the heels of its release in 4K Blu-ray in 2021, and fans of the film were treated to a brand-new collectible figure fashioned after Drew Struzan‘s original poster art, as well as screen printed posters. Audiences showed up and out for the re-release, earning it a spot among this summer’s top blockbusters Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion and Disney Pixar’s Lightyear.

After the initial viewing, released to about 730 theaters with a single showtime, there was backlash among moviegoers at the quality of the viewing. Fathom presented The Thing outside its original format in the wrong aspect ratio which led to a third of the film being cut offscreen and poor resolution. The screw-up was brought to the public’s attention by director Mick Garris (Nightmare Cinema) who took to Twitter to voice his complaints. After going viral, Variety reports that Fathom has issued an apology and the second showing on June 22 will be a vast improvement, “with projection in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen.”

RELATED: John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ and the Horrors Hidden in Plain Sight

Fathom’s issued apology stated:

“We are aware that the recent showing of ‘The Thing; wasn’t shown in its original aspect ratio and the disappointment it caused. Wednesday’s scheduled event will be shown in the proper aspect ratio, so you can see the film in theaters, as it was meant to be seen.”

Carpenter’s sci-fi horror The Thing takes place in the barren Antarctica, starring a fresh-faced Kurt Russell as MacReady, a member of the U.S. research team posted there. In such isolation, the team is stunned when they’re radioed by a nearby Norwegian team about an escaped dog they’re attempting to hunt and kill. When the helicopter is brought down, MacReady and some of the others set out to make contact with the Norwegians, only to find their camp has been ransacked and everyone is gone. However, the Americans do find strange, alien remains and, as expert scientists are often wont to do in sci-fi and horror, they return to the U.S. station with said remains. Thus ensues a nightmare of paranoia and mistrust among their small group that leads to absolute insanity and carnage.

With the return to its former glory, perhaps The Thing will manage to rake in even more cash for its final showing on June 22 at participating theaters. You can check Fathom’s site for showings nearby.

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