“I Know What You Did Last Summer” opened on October 17, 1997, just in time for the Halloween season. It debuted at number one on the charts, taking in $15.8 million, topping the other newcomer that weekend, “The Devil’s Advocate” ($12.1 million). But that was just the beginning, as the film would go on to remain atop the charts for two more weeks, not surrendering the crown until “Starship Troopers” hit theaters in early November. The fact Sony was able to hit that Halloween corridor on such a short timeline was nothing shy of impressive.
Against a mere $17 million budget, the film took in a whopping $72.2 million domestically along with a healthy $53 million overseas for a grand total of $125.2 million. Or, to put it another way, nearly 7.5 times its budget. Not to mention that this was at a time where home video sales and cable rights would have been significant in terms of cash flow. Needless to say, a new franchise was born.
Sony rushed a sequel into production in the form of “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,” which arrived the following year, missing that Halloween timeframe and, instead, arriving in mid-November. But the heat had died down and the sequel earned a mere $40 million against a larger $24 million budget. A third sequel, “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer,” went direct-to-video in 2006. A flash in the pan that burned very bright but burned off very quickly.