‘Halloween Ends’ tops box office with $41 million, extends the Red Hot Run of Horror

“Halloween Ends” beat box office competition by raising $41.25 million in 3901 North American theaters over its opening weekend. The film started off better than expected (expected close to $50 million to $55 million), but it’s still impressive considering the potential for a simultaneous release at Peacock to cut ticket sales. This is the first time that since the release of Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’ in late July, it has made more than $44 million. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as a granny with deep-seated trauma in “Halloween Ends” But the Universal and Blumhouse franchises are still making money after all, so it’s doubtful that audiences saw the last of the masked killer Michael Myers. “Halloween Ends” also faced unexpectedly steep competition from Paramount’s creepy thriller “Smile”, which continued its killer run for $12.4 million (down at least 33%) in its third weekend of release. R-rated “Smile” has grossed $71.1 million in North America and $137 million worldwide to date. That’s a terrifyingly good result, since it only cost $17 million to make. At a time when movie theaters are struggling to recover from COVID, the horror genre has been a consistent winner. “Horror movies are doing very well at the box office,” said David A. Gross, who runs franchise Entertainment Research, a film consulting firm. “Young audiences love to see this movie in theaters.” However, he added, “When such success is possible, the greatest value is created in the order of exclusive theatrical release and streaming.” According to NBCUniversal, “Halloween Ends” is Peacock’s most watched series or movie in two days, but the company has been lacking in providing data to contextualize the ambiguous milestones. Peacock has far fewer subscribers than Netflix, HBO Max, and other competitors in the streaming space, but it’s impossible to know how much money is left on the table with its hybrid launch. Internationally, “Halloween Ends” increased worldwide ticket sales to $58.42 million, adding $17.17 million in 77 markets. Jim Orr, President of Domestic Distribution at Universal, said, “We are delighted to see Blumhouse dominate the space once again. “Jamie Lee Curtis is her natural force and her audience absolutely loves her.” “Halloween Ends” costs $33 million to create, not including marketing costs, so you don’t need a ton of coins to make a profit. However, there was hope, at least over the weekend, that the slasher sequel will outperform its predecessor, the $49 million opening of the 2021 “Halloween Kills”, which opens daily at Peacock. Instead, “Halloween Ends” had the lowest debut in the rebooted trilogy, a sign that enthusiasm is starting to diminish. “Halloween Ends” scored a grim “C+” CinemaScore, the worst of the trilogy. That’s not very encouraging, as “Halloween Kills”, which scored a slightly better “B-“, dropped 70% in sophomore year to $92 million in North America and $131 million worldwide. In comparison, 2018’s “Halloween” cleared the franchise record for $76.2 million at the time of its release. The critically acclaimed film finished in theaters for $159 million in the United States and $255 million worldwide. “Despite the ‘C+’ CinemaScore,” says Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The bigger question for every movie on the market is the imminent ‘Black Adam’ debut,” he added. The DC Comic Book adaptation, starring Dwayne Johnson as the antihero of the same name, premieres in theaters next weekend. In addition, ‘Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile’ took third place after ‘Halloween Ends’ and ‘Smile’. Sony’s family animated film drew an audience of 4,350 in theaters over the second weekend, adding $7.4 million, down 34% from its debut. To date, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” has grossed $22.7 million in North America. ‘The Woman King’, starring Viola Davis, took fourth place with $3.7 million out of 2,565 spectators. The critically acclaimed action epic grossed $59.7 million domestically and $76.5 million worldwide within five weeks of its theatrical release. This is a strong result for a film aimed at an adult audience. However, given the $50 million price tag, there are still ways to make a comfortable return from theater operations. David O. Russell’s star-studded “Amsterdam” took fifth place at $2.9 million in 3,005 cinemas, a 56% drop from its tragic start of $6.5 million. Made on a budget of $80 million, the film became one of the highest-grossing films of the year, grossing $12 million at the domestic box office and $18.5 million worldwide, due to negative reviews and minimal rumors. In the indie category, Chinonye Chukwu’s historical drama “Till” grossed $240,940 in 16 theaters, averaging a solid $15,059 per location. MGM and United Artists Releasing will expand the film about Emmett Till’s mother’s search for justice to 150-200 additional venues next weekend. Meanwhile, the award-winning ‘Tar’, starring the controversial world-renowned conductor Cate Blanchett, made $360,000 in 36 theaters, equivalent to $10,000 per venue. The film from Focus Features has grossed $585,000 to date and plans to continue its slow expansion over the next few weeks.
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