“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, earning $15.8 million, surpassing the weekend’s other newcomer, “The Devil’s Advocate” ($12.1 million). But that was just the beginning, as the film would stay atop the charts for two more weeks, not giving up the crown until “Starship Troopers” hits theaters in early November. The fact that Sony was able to reach this Halloween hallway in such a short time was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
With a budget of just $17 million, the film earned $72.2 million domestically and $53 million overseas for a total of $125.2 million. Or, to put it another way, almost 7.5 times its budget. Not to mention, this was at a time when home video sales and cable rights would have been important in terms of cash flow. Needless to say, a new franchise was born.
Sony rushed production of a sequel in the form of “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”, which arrived the following year, missing that Halloween period and instead arriving at mid-November. But the heat had died down, and the sequel only made $40 million against a larger budget of $24 million. A third sequel, “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer”, went straight to video in 2006. A flash in the pan that burned very hot but died very quickly.