Horror films tend to do well in October. Blumhouse films historically do very well. Franchises are always good for solid business, even more so when in the horror genre. Still, none of that could prepare us for the monster opening weekend experienced by the latest iteration of Halloween. Jamie Lee Curtis’s return to the franchise that made her name had an amazing $77.5m opening three day weekend. That’s the second largest October opening weekend ever, right behind another release of this month, Venom. The budget was small, the reviews were pretty great and there was a hell of a lot of love for Curtis, and it paid off handsomely for Universal and Blumhouse. Halloween hasn’t even opened in most of the major markets either, so expect this thing to do big business abroad. It’s already past $91m worldwide.
Still at number 2 is A Star is Born, which held strong with only a 32% drop from last weekend. It’s $19.3m weekend takes it past $126m domestically and cements it as the Oscar front-runner to beat. Yeah, I know, you’ll all be sick of awards talk before the year is even out but let’s not pretend that isn’t a major concern for Warner Bros. and Bradley Cooper with this film. He’s gonna ride this way to the top, baby! Also, did you know he’s a producer on that Joker movie Todd Phillips is making? Hollywood is weird.
Venom slipped from 1 to 3 with $18.1m but with $171m domestic and a total gross of $461m worldwide, this one can have an easy ride from now until the end of its run. I’m still fascinated that this one seemingly broke all the rules. I certainly didn’t expect it to do well. Hell, I didn’t even expect to like the film and I did. It was that cheesy retro charm and the sheer commitment of Tom Hardy that helped override my superhero fatigue. Maybe that’s what did it for everyone else. Well, that and the lobsters.
First Man is seriously under-performing, slipping from 3 to 5, right behind Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. I’m not ready to write this one’s numbers off as angry conservative douchebags pretending to be incensed over the fake scandal of the flag in the film. I think this one may just have gotten lost in the shuffle and there wasn’t much enthusiasm for the story. My guess is Universal will try to keep it going into awards season and hope it picks up enough nominations to encourage those skeptical audiences.
Things fared much better for expanding indie titles. The Hate U Give jumped 331% in its gross from last week, taking in $7.5m as it expanded wide. The budget for this was $23m and there’s real hunger for this story - partly due to its political relevance and partly because the book was so popular - so this could go the distance.
The Old Man and the Gun expanded to over 800 theatres and grossed just over $2m in its 4th week of release. The Sisters Brothers finally got its domestic gross close to $2m but it probably won’t be enough to save it, alas. It expanded to an extra 1000 theatres but its per screen average was only $650. Please seek it out if you have the chance because it really is wonderful. Amazon’s expansion of Beautiful Boy to an extra 44 theatres saw its weekend gross come to $439k. This may be the studio’s big Oscar player this year, unless they decide to give You Were Never Really Here a proper campaign - yes please! - or Suspiria turns into the front-runner.
As for new releases, the indie world had a few strong players. Jonah Hill and A24’s Mid90s opened to $249,500 from 4 theatres. That $62k per screen average was the weekend’s highest. Can You Ever Forgive Me?, another of me 2018 favourites, opened strong with $150k from 5 theatres, while Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan’s Wildlife made over $105k from 4 theatres.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.
What films did you watch this weekend? Let us know in the comments.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.