Box Office Rundown (Oct 26-Oct 28) Halloween Tops the Weekend Once Again!! Hunter Killer Sinks!! Mid90’s Skates into the Top Ten!! Suspiria Dominates the Specialty Market!!

Weekend Box Office Top 10 (Oct 26-Oct 28): (Title / Weekend Gross / Percent Change from Last Week / Weekend # / Distributor), Sunday Estimates

  1. Halloween / $32,045,000 / -58% / Weekend 2 / Universal
  2. A Star is Born / $14,145,000 / -25.8% / Weekend 4 / Warner Bros.
  3. Venom / $10,800,000 / -40.1% / Weekend 4 / Sony (Columbia)
  4. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween / $7,500,000 / -22.8% / Weekend 3 / Sony (Columbia)
  5. Hunter Killer / $6,650,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Lionsgate (Summit)
  6. The Hate U Give / $5,100,000/ -32.9% / Weekend 4 / Fox
  7. First Man / $4,935,000 / -40.7% / Weekend 3 / Universal
  8. Smallfoot / $4,750,000 / -27.8% / Weekend 5 / Warner Bros.
  9. Night School / $3,255,000 / -33.5% / Weekend 5 / Universal
  10. Mid90’s / $3,000,000 / +1026.1% / Weekend 2 / A24

Notable Outsiders:

12. Johnny English Strikes Again / $1,626,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Universal

13. Indivisible / $1,575,000 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Pure Flix

22. Suspiria / $179,806 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Amazon

29. Border / $71,565 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Neon

18. Burning / $28,650 / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Well Go USA

 

Halloween came in at number one this weekend once again, having officially racked up loads of cash in the lead up to Halloween night. All that remains is the question of whether or not it goes on to make a killing this coming Wednesday, and odds are that it will! Elsewhere in the top ten, Venom and A Star is Born continue to hold fantastically as they go forward and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween took advantage of the Halloween lead in while Hunter Killer debuted to a disappointing gross. Mid90’s did indeed pop into the number ten spot, winning the weekend against other specialty offerings vying for a place in the top ten. However, the real crown jewel of the specialty market this weekend was Suspiria, which made a distribution gamble that seems to have royally paid off as it scored the highest per-theater-average of the weekend.

Winning the weekend and claiming the number one spot is that of Halloween. Capitalizing on its positioning leading into the last weekend before Halloween, the sequel/reboot of the iconic John Carpenter franchise once again topped the box office top ten with a gross of $32 million. Currently, the film’s domestic gross is that of $126.6 million with the worldwide gross growing to $172.2 million over the course of the weekend. All on merely a $10 million budget, this movie will be seeing loads of profit down the line and is already beckoning for a sequel (something which is entirely possible within a year’s time as producer Jason Blum, alongside Universal, has already staked out a Halloween-adjacent release date in 2019; given the frugality and speed with which Blum is able to churn out a film, I would not be surprised to see an announcement soon that a new Halloween will be scheduled for next year). This potential sequel is even more likely given the intense audience interest that has been brewing since the film’s release in exploring the rest of the Strode family women (played with equal levels of charm and edge by veteran actress Judy Greer, who plays Laurie’s daughter, and newcomer Andi Matichak, who plays Laurie’s granddaughter).

All that said, I am surprised at off my prediction was about the film’s weekend drop. I had predicted a relatively bold 50% on the basis of the fact that Halloween very much has an “event movie” feel to it. I have stated a few times now that I have very mixed feelings toward the film, which I feel is lacking in a straightforward causal narrative but benefits from a cast that is not only totally game but also surprisingly talented. As a result of the clash, the only thing that makes the film worth seeing its theaters is the scares and the atmosphere that it adds to the season; the result of this is that I don’t see how the film can play well outside of this Halloween window. It is for this reason that I predict that Halloween will see a very large drop next weekend, but also why I surmised that it would hold closer to 50% this past weekend given that the film was so in-season. However, the film instead fell 58%, much more in line with industry predictions that saw the film dropping around 55-57%. While it likely poses little concern to Universal and Blumhouse given the hyper-low budget and mega high gross (relatively), it is still very indicative of my early assessment that after Halloween passes, Halloween is seriously unlikely to stick around long.

In second and third place, respectively, we once again find A Star is Born and Venom (I think I might actually be getting slightly sick of saying that). Both, once again, saw strong holds, with A Star is Born boasting the second smallest drop in the top ten, 25% for a gross of $14.1 million which brings its domestic gross to $148 million (looks like its going past $150 million) and, when combined with a surge in popularity overseas, itworldwide gross to $253.3 millionVenom, however, is continuing to surprise and impress, this time with a weekend drop of only 40.1%, the film’s best hold yet! At a current domestic haul of $187.2, the film is actually now within striking distance of the $200 million mark, something few would’ve expected merely a month ago (one has to wonder if the film is benefiting from the having a Sam Raimi-Evil Dead-type vibe to it and is thus playing well through Halloween). Worldwide, the film has grossed over $500 million and is primed and ready to take China by storm next weekend. Let’s see if they love Venom as much as we apparently do.

In fourth place, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween saw a much-needed boost from the Halloween-lead-in weekend, falling only 22.8% for a gross of $7.5 million and bring its total worldwide gross to $62.5 million. This still isn’t fantastic for the movie, which hasn’t actually been performing all that bad but is simply operating on a much smaller level than that of the first Goosebumps. The film is likely to at least break even when it comes to its budget (excluding P&A), but Sony should not expect any profits until much later down the line when the film hits streaming. Another movie heading toward the same fate looks to be that of Hunter Killer, which took the number five spot this weekend. The Gerard Bulter submarine warfare picture currently represents the fourth-lowest opening gross (in wide-release) of his career. The middling reviews for the film (calling it “by the numbers”) definitely did not help, but what really drives home the bad opening is the fact that Butler is coming off the relative success of Den of Thieves and even London Has Fallen (both of which have sequels in development). Both pictures managed an opening weekend gross that was at least in mid-teens, and even Butler’s recent flop, Geostorm, opened to $13 million when it was released last year (during late October I might add). With all that in mind, Hunter Killer‘s opening looks even worse than on paper. Lionsgate/Summit released the $40 million picture (produced by Millenium Films) stateside and in the U.K. and has reportedly covered at least 10% of the budget (along with stateside advertising). This would bring the net-budget of the film down to $36 million, but that still leaves the overall break-even point around $72 million, a break-even that is likely to never be reached with an opening that is this minute. There is a bright side to all of this in that the film did receive positive a reaction from audiences; the film sports an “A-” Cinemascore and a very surprising 4 out of 5 stars on PostTrak. A solidly positive audience response isn’t terribly uncommon with Gerard Bulter films, which tend to be crowd-pleasing actioners with a patriotic flavor to them (hilariously ironic given that Butler himself is Scottish). Given that Lionsgate is only responsible for 10% of the budget on top of stateside advertising, their exposure on the film is being estimated to be somewhere in the $20 million range. That kind of exposure is much more likely to be recouped in theaters here in the states, and given that Lionsgate will likely handle home entertainment distribution, they will likely seem some kind of profit down the line through rentals.

As for the rest of the top ten, line up saw little change from the previous week. The Hate U Give saw great news in that it only dropped 32.9%. I had predicted it would fall within the range of 35-45% (standard for more prestige-type film), so to see it hold even stronger than predicted is wonderful. With a weekend gross of $5.1 million, the film’s worldwide gross is up to $19.6  million. The film cost $23 million to make, so it is likely not to break even in theaters, but its strong performance up to now (along with good headlines thanks to holds like this) will definitely make it a strong player in the ancillary market where it could easily turn a solid profit, especially it the film can make some headway with awards season. On the other hand, First Man‘s chances of seeing a profit are getting worse and worse every weekend. While the bleeding is indeed slowing, with a 40% drop this weekend as opposed to 48% last weekend, the wound seems to be just too deep for First Man to recover. This weekend it came in seventh place with $4.9 million and is only up to $37 million domestically on a nearly $60 million budget. Worldwide, the film has grossed $74 million, but this is a far cry from the likely at least $180 million that would slide the film into profitability. Eighth and ninth place saw Smallfoot and Night School dropping 27.8% and 33.5% for grosses of $4.7 million and $3.2 million, respectively. Smallfoot‘s worldwide gross is only at $167 million, not at the over $200 million it likely needs to be profitable, but it has definitely broken even budget-wise and can boast an undeniably strong run at the box office as it begins to exit the top ten. Word-of-mouth has been very strong on the film and I expect that this will translate into some very strong rental and streaming sales come this Christmas (savvy move Warner Bros.). Night School also has a reason to be proud of itself as well since after an okay start and a surprisingly large second-weekend drop, the film has held on tight in the weeks since its release and has just crossed the $90 million mark worldwide. My general rule of thumb is that a film roughly becomes a success once it grosses three times its budget, and Night School has indeed crossed that mark off of its near $30 million budget. While it will be relegated to making a large amount of its money in the ancillary market, the fact that it has squeaked into profitability while still in theaters is definitely an accomplishment (just look at how many times I’ve used the words ancillary market, rental, streaming, and “down the line” when discussing the majority of the top ten). Tiffany Haddish should also be proud given that Night School‘s continued presence I the top ten has primed her to see some great success with her new film, Nobody’s Fool, which comes out this coming weekend. Night School‘s foreign gross is also within striking distance of that of Girl’s Trip‘s foreign gross, which is actually an asset given that films featuring black-leads don’t typically tend to perform well outside of the U.S. If Tiffany Haddish can deliver foreign numbers on par with Girls Trip consistently across her other films, she is a major asset to any film. I’m excited to see how Nobody’s Fool performs this coming weekend.

Going into the weekend, tenth place was shaping up to be a battle between several titles in limited release. Mid90’sThe Old Man & the GunJohnny English Strikes Again, and Indivisible all looked to be jockeying toward a $2 million gross this weekend, but as the weekend progressed, most of them fell away from the competition completely. Mid90’s ended up pulling ahead, cashing in on the capital it amassed last weekend with its massive upset against Can You Ever Forgive Me?, grossing $64k per theater (across 4 theaters) on its opening weekend. It when wide this past weekend in over 1,200 theaters and popped into tenth place with an estimated $3 million. I personally think it was a bad idea to go wide so soon after opening in limited release, but we’ll have to wait and see if anything negative comes out of this. For now, Mid90’s can celebrate the fact that it beat out last weekend’s number ten spot hold The Old Man & the Gun (which fell respectably at 15%), Johnny English Strikes Again (which only made $1.6 million, though I’m sure Working Title, who produced the threequel couldn’t care less as that gross helped to push the film past $100 million worldwide), and Pure Flix’s Indivisible which didn’t register with only $1.5 million.

Outside of the top ten, the biggest story of the weekend was that of Suspiria, which opened in limited release in two theaters nationwide. I had noted going into the weekend that the film had a divisive reaction amongst critics and wasn’t in the best position to open with a large per-theater-average. This was only compounded by the fact that the film was only opening in two theaters, which I believed was a tactic that Amazon was using to inflate the per-theater average. Inflate that average it did, but with much stronger results than anticipated as Suspiria opened to $179,806, a massive $89,903 per-theater, the largest per-theater-average of the year to date. Maybe the Halloween season played into the fever surrounding the release, but the fact is that Suspiria truly defied many expectations. Detractors may be quick to point out that this per-theater-average was only across to two theaters, but Amazon need only clap back with the fact that last year’s Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, did the same thing last December (something I pointed out in my last post). To sweeten the comparison, the Luca Guadagnino-directed, Dakota Johnson-fronted, remake also managed to score a high per-theater-average than The Shape of Water (it debuted to an average of $83k). I still am not sure just how competitive Suspiria will be in the Oscar race this year, but if this opening is any indication, we definitely have a contender across several categories (most notably director some acting categories). Outside of Suspiria, Neon launched the well-received foreign flick Border in seven theaters while Well Go USA (an Asian distributor, currently behind the ninth highest grossing movie of the year, Operation Red Sea) released Burning, a social drama and South Korea’s official Foreign Language Oscar submission for the year. Neither showed a strong per-theater-average, but I would keep an eye on Burning, as it is the first major lead role for former Walking Dead star Steven Yeun, as well as his first Korean film. The film has garnered high praise, particularly for Yeun’s performance which many media outlets are pushing for Oscar attention. We’ll have to keep track of the film has it expands.

(Data from BoxOfficeMojo.com, Deadline.com, and BoxOfficePro.com)

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