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‘Halloween’ Stalks ‘Venom’ and October Box Office Opening Record

Two weeks after ”Venom“ earned an $80 million launch, ”Halloween“ is close to breaking that record

Two weeks ago, “Venom” set a new October box office record for the biggest opening weekend with $80 million. Now, Michael Myers is closing in on slicing that record to pieces with Universal/Blumhouse’s “Halloween.”

Early estimates have the sequel to John Carpenter’s classic slasher earning a $79-80 million opening after making $33.3 million on Friday from 3,928 theaters, including $7.7 million from Thursday previews. Impressively, unlike “Venom,” “Halloween” is reaching that figure without the extra bump of premium formats like IMAX. If Saturday results can beat expectations, it may be able to crack the $80 million mark.

Even if it doesn’t, this will be by far the best opening weekend for a Blumhouse release, topping the $52.5 million for “Paranormal Activity 3.” It’s also the second-best opening for an R-rated horror film, behind only the $123 million opening earned by “It” last year. “Halloween” has earned a B+ on CinemaScore to go with its 80 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and is expected to leg out to strong numbers through Halloween a week from Wednesday.

In second is Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born,” which continues to hold very well with an estimated third weekend total of $19 million, keeping its drop-off to below 35 percent for another weekend and a domestic total of $126 million. “Venom” is close behind in third, though it is seeing “Halloween” split off much of its core audience. It is estimated for a 50 percent drop-off, a $18 million third weekend total, and a $171 million domestic total.

Sony’s “Goosebumps 2” is in fourth with $10 million in its second weekend, with Universal’s “First Man” completing the top five with $8.8 million. It’s a tepid hold for the Neil Armstrong biopic, keeping its drop to approximately 43 percent. But analysts who spoke to TheWrap earlier this week said that “First Man” needs a second weekend total of $10 million or more to show that it has the audience to make it through a very competitive autumn.

Outside the top five is Fox’s “The Hate U Give,” which is expected to hit tracker expectations with a $7.3 million wide opening from 2,303 screens. The social justice drama about a black student who takes a stand when her friend is killed by a white police officer has earned critical acclaim with a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and a perfect A+ on CinemaScore. The film has already grossed $2.7 million from a two week limited run.