Should streamers get spoooooky?

Horror movies are cheap and people like them, making them great streaming fodder.

Prey — a Predator reboot in which a Comanche woman battles the alien hunter — became Hulu’s most-viewed premiere this weekend. (According to many critics, it also ruled.)

Peter Csathy, founder of advisory firm Creative Media, told CNBC he thinks that Netflix should further embrace horror.

For one, Netflix’s target demo likes it. Many of its hits are horror or horror-adjacent — “Stranger Things,” “The Witcher,” “Midnight Mass,” “Squid Game,” Fear Street.

But most importantly, horror is cheap

Scary movies can crush with even a small budget, a strategy horror studio Blumhouse Productions has capitalized on for years.

  • Fun fact: Per The Hollywood Reporter, the two most profitable films, when comparing box office to budget, are both found-footage horror films: Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project.

Csathy’s pitch for Netflix is that small budgets allow for mistakes, whereas with big budget flicks “if you screw up, you’re screwed.”

Streamers don’t have box office numbers

Their profits come via subscriber growth and, if they get a “Stranger Things” hit, merchandise.

But looking at viewing hours, action flick Red Notice is Netflix’s most popular film, while horror film Bird Box ranks third.

  • Red Notice cost $200m, while Bird Box’s budget was $19.8m, meaning Bird Box got 77% of the viewership for less than 10% of the cost. And Bird Box, thanks to myriad memes, was talked about for days.

Horror movies are also ripe for franchising, spawning sequels and reboots that often bring old fans (and subscribers?) back for more.

That is, if they’re done well. This year’s positively reviewed Scream grossed $140m. Let’s, uh… Let’s just not talk about that Firestarter remake, okay?

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