A robust October box office is expected to end quietly on Halloween weekend with audiences spending the holiday away from theaters and because of the usual absence of major titles on the weekend before a Marvel film’s release.
But a pair of specialty distributors will try to draw people looking to spend Halloween with a horror film this weekend as Focus Features releases Edgar Wright’s “Last Night in Soho” while Searchlight Pictures releases the Guillermo del Toro-produced “Antlers.” Neither film is expected to take the No. 1 spot from “Dune,” which is projected for a second weekend total in the mid-to-high teens while both newcomers are tracking for openings around $5 million.
Despite this, October has panned out as studios and theaters hoped, making major strides toward prepandemic box office levels. Domestic grosses for the month stand at $544 million and should top $600 million after the weekend to become the highest grossing month of the year. And while that’s short of most Octobers in the 2010s, it will exceed the $559 million grossed in October 2017.
While “Soho” and “Antlers” will likely provide only minimal contributions to that total, “Antlers” isn’t the only film Searchlight is rolling out. After posting the best per theater average of the year last weekend in limited release, Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” will expand to around 600 theaters in 60 cities this weekend. The anthology film grossed $1.34 million from just 52 screens last weekend, earning an average of nearly $26,000. The film will then expand again nationwide next weekend as an alternative to Marvel Studios’ “Eternals.”
“Last Night in Soho” stars Thomasin McKenzie as a fashion design student who begins to have visions of a beautiful singer (Anya Taylor-Joy) who lived in 1960s London, only for those visions to turn bloody and begin to affect her life in the present day. Matt Smith and the late Diana Rigg also star in the film, which Wright co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns. It has a 72% Rotten Tomatoes score.
“Antlers” follows an Oregon middle school teacher who suspects that one of her students is being abused, only to discover that the boy is connected to the mysterious disappearances and deaths of animals and people in their desolate town. Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons and Jeremy T. Thomas star in the film, which is directed by Scott Cooper and has a 65% RT score.