Weekend Box Office: 'Halloween' Opens to Terrifying $77.5M
"Trick or treat" took on a whole new meaning at the weekend box office, where Blumhouse and Universal's Halloween opened to a terrifying $77.5 million from 3,920 theaters, the second-best showing of all time for an R-rated horror pic.
It also scored the second-best debut ever for the month of October, coming in not far behind the record set by Venom earlier this month ($80 million). Overseas, Halloween started off with $14.3 million from its first 23 markets, led by Mexico ($4.9 million) and the U.K. ($3.6 million), for a global bow of $91.80 million.
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The film — a direct sequel to the 1978 classic slasher hit that sees Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her role as the iconic Laurie Strode — is yet another victory for horror maestro Jason Blum and his microbudgeted strategy. Halloween cost $10 million to make, with Blumhouse and Miramax co-financing.
Halloween sees Laurie Strode once again facing off with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night in 1978. (Nick Castle reprises his role as Myers.)
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween wasn't able to match New Line's 2017 blockbuster It, which opened to $123.4 million, easily the top showing of all time for an R-rated horror movie, not adjusted for inflation. However, Halloween did win the crown for the top opening of all time for a Halloween-themed title opening around the holiday. The previous best was Paranormal Activity 3 ($53.8 million), which also marked Blumhouse's previous top opening.
“I am enormously proud of this film,” Blum says. "Halloween brings the franchise back to life in a fresh, relevant and fun way that is winning over fans and critics alike.”
In addition to stellar reviews, Halloween nabbed a B+ CinemaScore, a good grade for the genre. Males made up 53 percent of ticket buyers, while nearly 60 percent of the aud was over the age of 25.
The busy weekend also saw A Star Is Born top Venom for the first time. Both films, now in their third weekend, grossed $19.3 million and $18.1 million, respectively, to claim the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the chart.
A Star Is Born has now grossed a stellar $126.4 million in North America, in addition to passing the $200 million mark at the worldwide box office. It isn't singing quite as loudly overseas, where it earned another $22.8 million over the weekend from 75 markets for a foreign total of $74.7 million and $200.1 million globally. The pic is doing best in English-language markets, such as the U.K., which leads with $19.5 million.
Venom's domestic total through Sunday is an even bigger $171.1 million for Sony as it nears the $500 million threshold globally. The superhero pic stayed atop the chart overseas with $33.3 million for a foreign tally of $290.7 million and a $461.8 million worldwide cume.
Sony also took the No. 4 spot in North America with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. The family-friendly film earned an estimated $9.7 million in its second outing for a domestic total of $28.8 million and an early global haul of $39.9 million.
In its second weekend, Universal and Oscar-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle's First Man continued to struggle, coming in No. 5 with $8.6 million for a 10-day domestic total of roughly $30 million. The adult-skewing pic fell 46 percent, a bigger-than-hoped-for drop. Overseas, the movie, which stars Ryan Gosling as NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to the walk on the moon, took in a muted $13.4 million from 47 markets for a foreign tally of $25.5 million and $55.5 million globally.
With awards season in full swing, Fox 2000 expanded its YA police-shooting drama The Hate U Give nationwide into roughly 2,300 theaters. Earning a coveted A+ CinemaScore, the film, directed by George Tillman, Jr. and based on Angie Thomas' best-seller, came in No. 6 with a pleasing $7.5 million for an early total of $10.6 million. The Hate U Give, which stars Amandla Stenberg, was fueled by African-Americans, who made up the largest segment of the audience at 41 percent.
"Audiences have rewarded George and Angie, and the cast, with stellar exits. This movie prompts people to have a conversation," says Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson.
New entries at the specialty box office included Jonah Hill's directorial debut, A24's Mid90s. The coming-of-age dramedy, which debuted in four theaters, posted the best screen average of the weekend with $62,377.
IFC's critical darling Wildlife — marking Paul Dano's directorial bow and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan — reported a screen average of $26,403 from four theaters.
Fox Searchlight's Can You Ever Forgive Me?, starring Melissa McCarthy, followed with a screen average of $30,000 upon opening in five cinemas (the drama boasts a 99 percent Rotten Tomatoes Score), while Bleecker Street's What They Had, debuting in four locations, reported a screen average of $4,711.
In its second weekend, Amazon Studio's Beautiful Boy upped its theater count to 48 cinemas for a screen average of $9,147.
by Graeme McMillan
by Pamela McClintock