As previously noted, October means Halloween, which also means horror, and this weekend saw the release of what was expected to be another big installment in possibly one of the most popular horror franchises, but one that clearly has worn out its welcome… again.
This Past Weekend
In most cases, a franchise finale like David Gordon Green’s Halloween Ends would be an enormous box office hit, but Universal chose to release the movie day-and-date on it streaming service, Peacock, while also releasing it into 3,901 theaters. Wrapping up the story of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode and her ongoing battle with the killer, Michael Myers, Ends made $5.4 million in Thursday previews, which was merged into the Friday box office of $20.2 million.
Universal kept reviews tightly under wraps until Thursday, and the reason became obvious when the movie scored just 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t much better than the 39% scored by last year’s Halloween Kills. (Ends also received a CinemaScore of “C+” — also, not good.)
Ultimately, Halloween Ends opened below Kills and with substantially less than Green’s initial Halloween movie opened with in 2018. It made an estimated $41.3 million this weekend, which isn’t bad when compared to the movie’s $20 million budget. That’s the same amount spent to make Halloween Ends after the $10 million-budgeted 2018 movie grossed $255.4 million worldwide. (Monday Update: Actual box office for Halloween Ends is $40 million.)
Undaunted by the release of a high-profile horror sequel, Paramount’s horror hit, Smile, continued to do far better than expected with another $12.4 million to take second place with a minimal 33% drop. The studio’s high-concept horror movie has grossed $71.2 million in North America, quite profitable when compared to its reported $17 million budget, and it should continue to do well leading up to Halloween at month’s end.
Sony took third and fourth place with last week’s Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which dropped 35% to third place with $7.4 million, followed by Viola Davis’ The Woman King with $3.7 million, down 29%. The former family film has made $22.8 million so far, while The Woman King has grossed $59.7 million since opening five weeks ago with less than $20 million.
David O. Russell’s Amsterdam didn’t hold up particularly well in its second weekend, dropping to fifth place with $2.9 million, a 55% drop from its own opening weekend. Its $12 million domestic take after ten days is terrible when put side-by-side with its own $80 million budget.
“Don’t Worry Darling” continues to find its audience in its fourth weekend where it took sixth place with $2.2 million with $42.4 million grossed domestically and another $35.8 million overseas.
There’s no good way of saying this, but Bros is now officially one of Universal’s biggest bombs in a very long time, this weekend dropping another 57% after losing 1,155 theaters on Friday. Billy Eichner’s gay rom-com brought in less than a million this weekend for a running total of $10.8 million, which probably wouldn’t even cover the movie’s marketing budget.
The indie horror sequel, Terrifier 2, remained in the top ten with $850,000 from 700 locations which was up 6% from last weekend, showing that word-of-mouth from the gory slasher was helping get the word out. It has grossed $2.3 million, so far, and presumably, it will continue beyond its original one-weekend plan. (Update: The actual weekend take for Terrifier 2 has been adjusted to $1 million for the weekend, bringing its total to $2.5 million.)
U.A. Releasing gave Chinonye Chukwu’s historic drama, Till, starring Danielle Deadwyler in a transcendent performance as Emmett Till’s mother, a platform release into 16 theaters, where it made $240,940 or $15,058 per theater. Presumably, it will slowly expand over the month, beginning with another 150+ locations this Friday, until its nationwide release on Oct. 28.
Todd Field’s TÁR – featuring Deadwyler’s Oscar competition, Cate Blanchett – expanded into 36 theaters on Friday, where it made $360,000, about $10,000 per theater. It has racked up $585,000 before its expansion into 100 theaters this coming Friday.
Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness brought in a further $337,000 in 31 locations this weekend, bringing its own total to $657,000. It’ll be interesting to see how wide this ends up being expanded by NEON over the coming weeks.
Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave made $91,000 from three locations in New York and L.A. before its expansion into roughly 36 theaters this coming Friday and then into a few hundred theaters after that.
|Rank||Entry||Distributor||Revenue||Theater Count||Total Revenue|
|3||Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile||Sony Pictures||$7,400,000||4,350||$22,757,353|
|4||The Woman King||Sony Pictures||$3,700,000||2,565||$59,746,217|
|5||Amsterdam||20th Century Studios||$2,891,000||3,005||$11,959,234|
|6||Don’t Worry, Darling||Warner Bros.||$2,238,472||2,734||$42,456,926|
|7||Barbarian||20th Century Studios||$1,411,000||1,805||$38,961,777|
|8||Terrifier 2||Bloody Disgusting||$1,030,000||700||$2,475,000|
|10||Top Gun: Maverick||Paramount Pictures||$687,903||902||$715,758,470|
Universal released “Halloween Kills” into 3,705 theaters (while also streaming on Peacock), and it grossed $49.4 million over the weekend, down $26 million from the opening of David Gordon Green’s initial Halloween movie in 2018. “Kills” would go on to make $92 million domestically and $130.8 globally, about half its predecessor.
The 25th James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” just missed the $100 million mark in its second weekend, dropping 57% down to second place with $23.8 million.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” took third place with $16.5 million, itself down 48% from the previous weekend with $168 million grossed domestically.
Ridley Scott’s historic action film, “The Last Duel,” should have been a banner release for Disney’s 20th Century Studios with its star cast of Adam Driver, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Jodie Comer (from Killing Eve). Instead, it bombed, opening in fifth place with just $4.8 million in 3,065 theaters, even worse than this year’s Amsterdam. This may partially account for why so many movies like Prey and Hellraiser are being streamed on Hulu, rather than getting theatrical releases.
This weekend sees two new wide releases, both of which are hoping that Halloween Kills is a one-week wonder that quickly slips away and opens up room for other movies.
The movie with the best chance at topping the box office, though maybe not setting any records, is New Line’s Black Adam movie, based on the DC Comics character and starring Dwayne Johnson. The character is a long-time Shazam rival that has taken on more of anti-hero role in the DC Comics universe, but may not be as well known as Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, which makes Black Adam an interesting experiment. The movie also introduces the Justice Society super-team to the DCEU with actors like Pierce Brosnan, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), and Quintessa Swindell (In Treatment) filling out the movie’s heroic cast.
Outside his Fast and Furious franchise work and the Jumanji movies, Johnson’s box office history has been spotty at best, with low points like 2018’s Rampage ($35.7 million opening) and Skyscraper ($24.9 million opening). Black Adam is actually Johnson’s second foray into the DC Universe this year, having voiced Krypto the Superdog in DC League of Super Pets, which opened with just $23 million, though it has benefitted from a lack of family films to rack up $93 million domestically.
Of note, Warner Bros’ Shazam! movie opened with $53.5 million in April 2019 and went on to make $363.7 million worldwide. That should be a good benchmark for Black Adam, which should benefit from Johnson’s involvement and the lack of superhero movies since Super Pets.
Universal offers some superhero counter-programming with Ticket to Paradise, starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney in their first movie together since 2016’s drama, Money Monster. Before that, they appeared in two out of the three “Ocean’s” movies, directed by Steven Soderbergh, which were quite successful.
Robert is a bonafide Oscar-winning A-lister who has not been in many movies in the past five years, and Ticket to Paradise is her return to the rom-com genre in which she once thrived. Clooney also hasn’t been on screen very much, having directed his past two movies for streamers, but he hasn’t fared as well in the rom-com genre with the Coen Brothers’ 2003 comedy, Intolerable Cruelty, with Catherine Zeta-Jones being a notable bomb
Ticket to Paradise has already made $72.5 million overseas, as Universal gave the comedy an early release internationally, but this weekend, it goes up against American moviegoers who seemingly are no longer interested in seeing comedies in theaters. Despite the undeniable starpower of Clooney and Roberts, it’s doubtful Ticket to Paradise can open with more than $15 million.
Black Adam will be the sure-fire #1 movie of the weekend, opening in first place with somewhere between $65 and 70 million, but Ticket to Paradise should be good for a third place opening with $11 to 15 million. Halloween Ends is likely to have a huge second-week drop with Smile continuing to hold up well.
Also, Martin McDonagh’s new acclaimed dramedy, The Banshees of Inisherin, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason, will open in four theaters in New York and L.A., a platform release by Searchlight Studios on its very likely path to scoring numerous awards nominations. (Look for Above the Line’s interview with McDonagh later this week.)
Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.net, The Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film Journal, The New York Daily News, Den of Geek, and many others.