‘Halloween’ to Pour Gasoline on an Already Exploding October Box Office

Michael Myers’ return poised for $60 million debut weekend

What has already been an unprecedented October at the box office is about to get yet another jolt with Universal/Blumhouse’s “Halloween,” the direct sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic that could join “Venom” as one of October’s top two highest-grossing movie weekends in history.

“We’re well into the fall season, but this October feels more like a July,” said comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian. “We’re 50 percent ahead of last October and six percent ahead of the best October ever, and now here comes ‘Halloween’ to push us even further above that pace.”

Independent trackers are projecting an opening for the film of $60-63 million, with Universal predicting a start in the $50 million range. Hitting tracker marks will give the film the second-best-ever October launch, sitting between this year’s “Venom” ($80 million) and 2013’s “Gravity” ($55.7 million).

However, box office analysts tell TheWrap that “Halloween” might get closer to “Venom”‘s mark than trackers are predicting, saying a $70 million opening is within reach.

While other slasher franchises, like “Friday the 13th,” solely market their iconic killer, “Halloween” has been sold as a deadly reunion between the infamous Michael Myers and the famed protagonist Laurie Strode, who will be played for the fifth time by Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s the latest in a series of films that have brought back actors to play classic roles from decades past, including the new “Star Wars” trilogy and “Blade Runner 2049.”

“‘Halloween’ is coming out at absolutely the right time,” said Dergarabedian. “At a time when horror is more popular than moviegoers than its been in decades and there’s a demand to see women in lead roles, it is definitely going to be the film to watch not just this weekend, but all the way up to Halloween night.”

Taking place 40 years after the original, “Halloween” shows Michael Myers as he escapes from the mental institution he has been locked up in for decades. He returns to Haddonfield, Illinois to find the one who got away. That one, of course, is Laurie, now an estranged grandmother who is still traumatized by that infamous Halloween night, and has prepared for the opportunity to finish Michael off for good.

John Carpenter returns as executive producer and composer for the new film. David Gordon Green directed and co-wrote with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley. Curtis stars with Nick Castle, who is reprising his role as Michael Myers. Judy Greer, Andi Matichak and Will Patton also star.

Also expanding wide this weekend is Fox’s “The Hate U Give,” which has been in limited release for the past two weekends with a total of $2.4 million grossed. Trackers are projecting a $7-9 million wide opening for the social justice film, which stars Amandla Stenberg as a black student at a predominantly white prep school who is inspired to become an activist after one of her friends is killed by a white police officer.