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In a surprise move, Universal is sending Halloween Ends day-and-date to theaters and to its streaming service, Peacock. The previous film in the series, 2021’s Halloween Kills, also debuted the same day on Peacock.
The film launches Oct. 14, and it will be available to stream to those who have a paid subscription to Peacock Premium or Premium Plus. The free, ad-supported version will not carry the film. It remains to be seen how cinema owners — who historically don’t like to play a film that’s also available in the home — will react. During the height of the pandemic, attitudes were different, but that was before the box office recovery.
Halloween Ends is the third and final installment in a rebooted Halloween franchise starring original actor Jamie Lee Curtis and hailing from director David Gordon Green and horror super-producer Jason Blum. Halloween (2018) earned $255 million globally on a $10 million budget, while the sequel, Halloween Kills, earned $131 million. The third chapter picks up four years after Kills.
The film also stars Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Kyle Richards, Omar Dorsey, Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney. Malek Akkad and Bill Block produce alongside Blum.
Curtis made the announcement in a video message posted on social media, noting that a year ago the team put Halloween Kills day-and-date on streaming amid the thick of the pandemic.
“We discovered there are people who want to go to the theater and scream their guts out. We also discovered that there are people who want to stay at home and scream their guts out. … We got great results both from box office and from streaming,” Curtis said in the video. “This year, we want to make sure as many people can see Halloween Ends before Halloween, so we decided to give that same gift to fans again.”
Curtis — who made a big splash at CinemaCon earlier this year when thanking theater owners — herself gave a shout-out to seeing the movie on the big screen first. Said the actor: “You can do what I would do and go to the theater and then rewatch it at home again and then go back to the theater and then rewatch it at home again.”
In its latest earnings disclosure on July 28, Comcast said that Peacock had 13 million paid subscribers and 28 million active monthly accounts. The company took a $467 million loss related to Peacock last quarter, up from $363 million in the year-ago quarter.
During the pandemic, Hollywood companies experimented with shortened theatrical windows, and even collapsed windows, to boost their streaming services by premiering first-run movies day-and date. But since the box office has bounced back this year, studios have reserved many of their event pics for the big screen. But while moviegoing boomed over the summer, cinema owners are now facing a dearth of product and need titles this fall. Additionally, Regal Cinemas’ parent owner Cineworld is exploring bankruptcy. Regal is the of the largest chains in the U.S.
At CinemaCon in late April, National Association of Theatre Owners chief John Fithian proclaimed that day-and-date releases are “dead as a serious business model, and piracy is what killed it.”
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