Weekend Predictions (Oct 26-Oct 28) Halloween Continues to Slash Up the Boc Office!! Holdovers Mostly Look Steady!! Suspiria Looks to Make Waves in Limited Release!!

As we head into the final weekend of the Halloween season, it seems obvious the Halloween will once again take the top spot this weekend; the only question is, by just how much? Outside of Halloween, however, there is little to talk about. Interestingly, almost all the upcoming films this weekend look to be debuting outside of the top ten, with the exception of Lionsgate/Summit’s Hunter Killer. The rest of the top ten looks to consist of holdovers, with the Venom and Star is Born holding on tightly to their sequential positions in the top five as they have for the past few weeks. The only spot that looks to be in question is that of the number ten spot, with Mid90’s (which is reportedly expanding nationwide this weekend) and Johnny English Strikes Again seeming to be on a collision course with one another. Awards season will also get another shot in the arm this weekend with Amazon’s release of Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake.

Unsurprisingly, Halloween is looking to take the top spot this coming weekend. Coming off a fantastic opening of $76.2 million, this new reboot of the Michael Myers-centered franchise has been taking advantage of its placement as a lead in into Halloween Night, racking up some pretty strong grosses over the past few weekdays. Currently, the film stands at $90 million in terms of domestic gross while the worldwide gross stands at $106.7 million in after just 6 days of release. Two of the biggest indicators of a film’s success (outside of box office gross) are whether or not the film gets a sequel and whether or not the talent involved with the film are able to sign on to new projects in the wake release. Both of these benchmarks have already met for Halloween as talk of a sequel to this sequel has erupted in full force following last weekend’s record-breaking opening and returning star Jamie Lee Curtis has just signed on to star in the high-profile mystery film Knives Out, director Rian Johnson’s follow-up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which also stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Ana De Armas, Michael Shannon, and Don Johnson (at this happened in less than a week’s time!). Of course, regardless of these developments, it would impossible to deny Halloween‘s explosive success as an over $100 million grosser with a mere $10 million price-tag.

The real question this weekend, however, is just how much Halloween is going to rake in. Obviously, the film will be crossing the $100 million mark domestically (a major accomplishment for any film), and given that this will be the final weekend before the actual Halloween, where the film is really gonna scare up a lot of change, one would expect that the film would look to be holding quite well. That said, seeing the film myself has actually given me pause as to its commercial potential going forward. Earlier this week, in my Box Office Rundown, I got to give a mini-review of Halloween. However, contrary to popular critical and audience reaction, I actually came away from the film a bit disappointed in its construction and lack of focus in its storytelling, both elements which frequently took me out of the movie. That isn’t at all to say that the movie is not scary; in fact, it’s quite the opposite and I was certainly entertained, especially give how seasonally appropriate said scares were. This led me to conclude that Halloween is likely to have a short shelf-life, performing very well through Halloween before likely dropping off the face of the earth very soon after. On top of that, Halloween‘s opening is leading to comparisons between it, Venom, and Logan given that their openings were all in the same range. Both Venom and Logan dropped around 55% in their second weekends, so it seems valid to predict a drop in that range. Now, my assessment of the movie would usually lead me to believe that Halloween would fall even more than 55%. However, Universal has done a very good job building the narrative around the film that Halloween is very much an “event” and should be seen (in theaters)on or at least in the lead up to the titular holiday. Given that, I predict a drop around 50% for a weekend gross of $38.1 million.

As per usual, A Star is Born and Venom look to be pairing up once more with a set of solid holds. A Star is Born will likely take second place with a drop of about 35% for a gross of $12.3 million. The film has so far grossed $132.5 million domestically and will likely pass the $150 million mark at least halfway through next week. Globally, the film’s gross is up to $218.3 million. As for Venom, its surprisingly strong hold last weekend leads me to believe that it will see a hold somewhere around 45%. This would translate to a gross of nearly $10 million this coming weekend (in third place), which would push its domestic gross to about $187 million. Internationally, the film is up to $291 million and is predicted to pass the $300 million mark by the end of the weekend. With that, the film will be closing in on $500 million globally, putting it in a prime position to head into its Chinese and Japanese releases. While I definitely don’t think that Venom will break into the $700-$800 million like that of the regular Sony Spider-Man films, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come awfully close.

In fourth place, we are likely to find our first new release of the weekend, Hunter Killer. Produced by Millenium Films for Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment, the film stars Gerard Bulter, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and the late Michael Nyqvist and follows a group of Navy SEALs engaged in a submarine battle in order to save the Russian president. The film’s trailer was released barely three months ago and there has been little advertising since which accounts for the rather low projections ranging from $7.5-$9 million. The film is, unsurprisingly, sporting some less than flattering reviews. While not outrightly criticizing the film as bad, most critics have labeled the film bland in its execution, saying that it treads the same kind of ground as many Gerard Butler films (though the action is receiving solid praise). Expect this one to debut on the lower end of its projected range and likely fall out of the top ten within the next week or two.

Fifth through ninth place looks to consist completely of holdovers. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween looks to continue in the footsteps of its predecessor with a 35% drop, but don’t be surprised if the film holds a little bit better given that it is going into the last weekend before Halloween (perhaps it can act as counterprogramming for anyone who might be too young, or too squeamish, to watch Halloween). I’m predicting $6.3 million in fifth place. The Hate U Give and  First man look to duke it out as both are likely to end up with grosses in the $4-$5 million range. If I had to guess, The Hate U Give is likely to see a drop between 35-45% given the critical acclaim that the film has received, along with its startlingly strong box office grosses these past few weeks. Whether the drop is closer to 35% or 45% will depend on just how much people are enjoying this fill, but expect a gross somewhere around at least $4.5 million in sixth place. As for First Man, the odds are not looking nearly as good as the film has continued to flounder since its release. I’m expecting a drop somewhere between 45-50% for this one, which will translate to a gross of around $4.1 million in seventh place and only continue to lessen the possibility of the film breaking even.

In eighth and ninth place, respectively, we are looking to find Smallfoot and Night School once again sporting strong holds between 30-35% each (Smallfoot could also potentially leapfrog over First Man if it holds well enough and if First Man falls hard enough). Tenth place, however, is something of a conundrum. Last weekend we saw The Old Man & the Gun successfully expand into 600 theaters and pop into the tenth place, quite impressively if I do say so myself. There is currently no word as to whether or not the film will expand once more, but if it does, it remains a contender to stay in tenth. That said, this weekend is offering up three strong challengers in the form of Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, Mid90’s, which is expanding into 1,206 theaters, the newest installment in the Johnny English franchise, Johnny English Strikes Again (opening in 500 theaters), and Pure Flix’s newest faith-based release Indivisible. Each of these releases is pegged with a $2 million estimated opening weekend gross, though I believe that Indivisible is likely to fall off the map. This leaves Mid90’s and  Johnny English Strikes Again (The Old Man & the Gun also seems less likely to stick around) to battle it out. If I had to bet money, I would place it on Johnny English taking the number ten spot given that fact that is part of a franchise and therefore has brand recognition. The film has also already been released in foreign markets and has made over $96 million, so clearly, there is an audience for the picture. Mid90’s also has breakout potential, but I feel that A24 may have decided to go wide with the film much too early. Only time will tell.

As for the specialty market, outside of Johnny English, this weekend will see the release of Suspiria, director Luca Guadagnino’s follow-up to his acclaimed Call Me By Your Name from last year. A remake (and apparently also a reimagining) of the classic Italian horror film of the same name from director Dario Argento, the film stars Dakota Johnson in her first major role post-the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and looking to captivate the minds of potential awards voters. Chloë Grace Moretz and Mia Goth co-star with Johnson, along with Tilda Swinton who reportedly plays three roles in the film, one of said roles even being that of a man (there’s a crazy article floating around how she apparently requested to prosthetic genitals in order to get into character at one point, just a fun little tidbit). Since its premiere at Venice last month, the film has received strong reviews, praising its dark themes, atmosphere, music, performances (particularly Swinton), and how it updates the original film. However, there are reportedly very gruesome elements in the film that are likely turning off reviewers as Rotten Tomatoes reports only a 72% score for the film; much lower than one would expect for a high profile remake and awards contender. No doubt that the film has a high intensity of interest surrounding it given all the talent involved. However, Amazon clearly senses a potential backlash brewing and has taken steps to mitigate that backlash accordingly. It is debuting in only two theaters this weekend as opposed to the customary four or five for awards contenders. This will give interested moviegoers fewer options for seeing the film and therefore will potentially boost the per-theater-average for the film significantly whereas four to five theaters would spread out the audience and potentially result in a more middling average. One could easily accuse Amazon of cheating in the awards race, but it is hard to argue with that strategy, especially given that Fox Searchlight used the same strategy with The Shape of Water last year. What was the result you ask? A fantastic $83,282 per-theater-average and an eventual Best Picture win.

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