For the uninitiated, The Purge films are based upon a compelling concept — the terrifying idea that, for one night every year, all crime (including murder and rape) is legal in the U.S. This fictional horror began in 2014 when America’s New Founding Fathers (a far-right, totalitarian party) took power amid an economic collapse. The party drove unemployment below 5% and practically eliminated crime, largely due to the annual purge ritual, which commenced in 2018 and allowed people to “release the beast” while emergency services were suspended. The fourth film, The First Purge, arrives on the Fourth Of July, and there’s little reason to expect a poor box-office performance.
In fact, the first three films — The Purge (2013), The Purge: Anarchy (2014), and The Purge: Election Year (2016) — have been insanely successful. Each film scored progressively higher ticket sales (with two grossing over $100 million, globally, on low budgets ranging between $3-10 million) for Blumhouse Productions. And in September, USA Network and Syfy will debut The Purge TV show, which franchise creator James DeMonaco promises will go deeper into the “celebration” as experienced by a yet-undisclosed small city.
Given that the annual purges only go down for eight years (Election Year officially ended them near the conclusion), it’s remarkable that the franchise — which proudly embraces a B-movie aesthetic — has enough fuel for a TV show on top of the four films. Yet producers are pulling this off, while also making impressive inclusion efforts.