At the start of 2017, Universal and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse took over headlines throughout Hollywood with the success of “Split” and “Get Out,” which combined to gross $531 million worldwide against a combined budget of $13.5 million.
Now, the studio and production duo are back with “Happy Death Day,” another low-budget horror film that will serve as Blumhouse’s entry to this year’s Halloween season.
While it’s expected to be the No. 1 film this weekend, “Happy Death Day” is tracking well behind Blumhouse’s other recent releases, with independent projections estimating an $18-20 million opening this weekend from 3,130 screens. Universal projects a mid-teens opening.
By comparison, “Get Out” grossed $33 million in its opening, while “Split” debuted to $40 million.
That’s not a good sign for a box office that has seen September’s “It”-fueled boom wear off. But for Blumhouse, there’s still a chance that this film could overperform, particularly among moviegoers under 25.
Teens played a critical role in the success of “It,” with 15 percent of opening weekend audiences coming from the under-18 crowd despite the film’s R rating. “Happy Death Day” has a PG-13 rating, making it more accessible to high schoolers. And early reviews have been good so far, with a 71 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.
“Happy Death Day” stars Jessica Rothe as a college student forced to relive the day of her murder over and over until she discovers who the killer is. Christopher B. Landon directed the film from a script by Scott Lobdell. .
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Also opening this weekend is STX’s “The Foreigner,” a revenge thriller starring Jackie Chan as a London businessman who hunts the terrorists who killed his daughter. Martin Campbell’s film, which also stars Pierce Brosnan, is projected for a $10-12 million opening from 2,515 screens.
Finally, there is Open Road’s “Marshall,” a biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall in one of the future Supreme Court Justice’s first legal cases.
Reginald Hudlin’s film — which also stars Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell — is projected to open at $3-4 million from 821 screens against a $12 million budget.