Nobody was expecting an AI companion to take the movie world by storm, but M3GAN is just built different. The surprise horror hit has been slaying at the box office, and it seems there are already plans for a sequel, as well as an unrated version.

“No shade to Universal, love them, and I understand that once the trailer went viral, teenagers got involved and you want them to be able to see it. There should be an unrated version at some point,” screenwriter Akela Cooper said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I heard it is on the books. But yes, it was way gorier. Her body count in the script was higher than in the movie.”

To establish some context, she highlighted that the character didn’t go to the level of a “scale massacre” like in Malignant, another horror film that she wrote, but she did “kill a bunch more people, including a couple of characters whom James [Wan] was like, ‘I like what you did with those people, but I want them to live.’ I was merciless, but again, that is me. My humour is extremely dark.”

Part of the films popularity can be attributed its deviation from the standard horror formula. Unlike the genre’s run-of-the-mill titles, M3GAN features funny elements throughout, including a dancing clip that has gone viral on social media platforms like TikTok and Twitter. Cooper called the sway from gore “exciting”, saying:

“An exec who read one of my specs and really liked it said, ‘It’s gory and no one’s doing gore right now. We have to wait for a horror movie that has gore to come out and be a hit, and then the market will shift.’ I was sitting there, like, ‘OK … we could lead that charge.”

“Now I’m [hearing], ‘There’s gore, and it’s not a problem.’ I’m happy that I could have a hand in bringing back fun horror that doesn’t take itself so seriously. I’m reading about more horror movies that are wild, out-there ideas coming out or being bought. And some of them are original, which is good! I’m happy that I could steer that ship so that studio execs can be like, ‘Oh! There might actually be money in them thar hills,’” she explained.

And the gamble has indeed paid off, with M3GAN bringing in a hefty US$45 million global debut. This places it behind James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, which continues to top the box office with its most recent international haul of US$1.7 billion.