Following a killer $76.2 million opening, “Halloween” has the opportunity to do something that no Blumhouse film — including “The Purge,” “Insidious,” or even “Get Out” — has ever done in the studio’s nine-year history, let alone nearly every horror film ever made: gross more than $200 million domestically.
The only other horror films to break the $200 million mark are “It,” “The Exorcist,” “Jaws” and perhaps “The Sixth Sense” (if you count the latter title as horror).
“Halloween” is poised to do reach great heights, firstly, because its opening weekend broke Blumhouse’s own studio record.
But there’s more that lies in wait: Traditionally, horror films have a very front-loaded performance at the box office, dropping off by more than 60 percent from its opening in their second weekend. But as horror has become more popular in the past few years, several of the genre’s biggest hits have bucked that trend.
“Get Out,” which currently stands as Blumhouse’s highest-grossing film, opened to $33 million and legged out all the way to $176 million. “It,” which posted horror’s biggest opening ever with $123 million, only dropped by roughly 51 percent in its second weekend and grossed $327.4 million in the U.S. And earlier this year, “A Quiet Place” opened to $50 million and rode a quiet April release calendar to $188 million domestic.
Now, all the pieces are in place for “Halloween” to similarly rock the box office — and even improve upon those figures. With Michael Myers casting a tall shadow over the box office and “Bohemian Rhapsody” coming out next weekend, the list of new releases in the final weekend of October is free of any heavyweights, with no film projected to have an opening gross of more than $8 million. Combine that with “Halloween”‘s strong word-of-mouth at a time when many moviegoers are looking for something scary to celebrate the season, and analysts are saying that a drop-off of just 35-40 percent is very much possible.
“This is going to be the film to go to this weekend, and even though ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is coming, I think this film can play well into November,” said Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock.
“Studios have done a very good job distancing their films from similar offerings on the calendar. ‘Halloween’ came out several months after ‘The Nun’ and is the only major horror offering for Halloween this year. Plus you can’t discount the goodwill that Blumhouse has built with horror fans. Obviously the film works, but I think the strong track record that studio has had over the past few years has definitely helped in increasing interest.”
Boxoffice’s Daniel Loria said “Halloween” is getting an unintended boost from the other big October successes, “Venom” and “A Star Is Born.”
“These movies are engaging moviegoers at different levels. We’re not having an ‘Avengers,’ ‘Deadpool’ and ‘Solo’ traffic jam like we saw back in May,” said Loria. “This has been a year that has shown time and time again that diversity pays off; not just ethnic or gender diversity, but diversity of content as well.”
And thanks to that diverse lineup, October 2018’s combined gross is currently 12 percent ahead of the pace set by the best October in industry history four years ago, a big jump from the six percent lead it had prior to “Halloween”‘s release. At this pace, this will be the first October with a calendar gross of over $800 million, while the annual gross continues to steamroll towards $12 billion with a current total of $9.5 billion.
Beyond “Halloween,” three smaller releases will hit theaters this week looking to crack the top five. Leading them is Summit Entertainment’s “Hunter Killer,” a submarine thriller starring Gary Oldman and Gerard Butler in a story about a team of Navy SEALs that must save the president of Russia from a coup. Projected for a $6-8 million opening from 2,700 screens, the film has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 38 percent.
In targeted release are the British import “Johnny English Strikes Again” and the faith-based war film “Indivisible.” “Johnny English Strikes Again” is the third installment in the spy comedy series starring Rowan Atkinson. Universal is distributing the film, which has already made $97.6 million overseas including $14.9 million in the U.K.. As the film holds most of its interest internationally, it’s only expected to make around $2 million from 500 screens.
“Indivisible” is released by Pure Flix and tells the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his struggle to save his marriage and help his fellow soldiers after his deployment to Iraq. Directed by David G. Evans, the film is projected for a $2-4 million opening.