By LINDSEY BAHR, AP Screenwriter
No matter how you look at the numbers, “Halloween Ends” had a strong opening weekend.
Billed as the final showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, the slasher pic grossed $41.3 million in ticket sales at 3,901 theaters in North America, according to studio estimates on Sunday. It’s the first film to open more than $40 million since “Nope” premiered in July and it exceeded its production budget, which is said to be between $20 million and $30 million. Including international projections, it shows a worldwide total of $58.4 million.
“We are extraordinarily thrilled that Blumhouse has once again delivered an incredible film and another No. 1 opening,” said Jim Orr, head of national distribution at Universal. “Jamie Lee Curtis had audiences across North America engaged and terrified.”
The film has also renewed an ever-green debate over day-to-day movie releases and some in Hollywood are wondering if it might have been even bigger had it not concurrently debuted on Peacock, the service of streaming from NBC Universal.
At the start of the weekend, some analysts had pegged “Halloween Ends” for an opening in the range of $50-55 million. “Halloween Kills,” the previous installment in the David Gordon Green-directed “Halloween” trilogy, opened day-and-date last year and still grossed $49 million on opening weekend.
Green’s first “Halloween,” on the other hand, debuted to $76.2 million in 2018. But that was before the pandemic, a theatrical release only, and the much-anticipated revival of a beloved franchise. with good reviews. However, his later “Halloween” films further divided critics and fans. “Kills” had a Rotten Tomatoes score of 39% while “Ends” has a score of 40% and has consistently opened over $40 million.
“The day and date model has been tested again, but I think that’s a mandate for the theater,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Audiences had the option of watching it at home, but they chose to go to the theatre.”
Many studios have experimented with day-and-date releases in the second year of the pandemic with varying results, but 2022 has seen most return to traditional early theatrical releases — especially for their most treasured brands and franchises.
Yet it sparked a self-proclaimed ‘rant’ from filmmaker Christopher Landon, who tweeted over the weekend that he felt his ‘Freaky’ horror film had been hurt by its simultaneous theatrical and streaming release in November 2020. .
“Stop doing this. Please. This isn’t working. Studios: Stop messing with filmmakers and their movies to try and prop up your fledgling streaming services,” Landon wrote on Twitter. the studio for not doing that… We were showered.”
While there was likely a financial impact on “Halloween Ends,” it’s unclear exactly how much money was left on the table with the release. Peacock is significantly smaller than many of its streaming rivals, with 13 million paid subscribers reported at the end of July. Studios also rarely release specific streaming data.
“Smile,” meanwhile, continued to defy the horror movie odds with another strong weekend. Paramount’s original thriller added $12.4 million, bringing its domestic total to $71.2 million after three weeks.
Dergarabedian noted that it’s rare for two R-rated horror films to top box office charts.
“The appeal of being scared in a movie theater is honored,” Dergarabedian said. “Throughout the pandemic, horror movies have grossed over $1 billion, and that’s just domestically.”
Third place over the weekend went to Sony’s “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” down 35% from its $7.4 million debut, while “The Woman King” landed in fourth. place with $3.7 million in its fifth weekend, bringing its national total to $59.7. million. “Amsterdam” completed the top five of weekend two with $2.9 million.
In limited release, United Artists Releasing’s Mamie Till-Mobley’s “TILL” got off to a strong start with $240,940 from just 16 locations. Director Chinonye Chukwu’s factual account of Emmett Till’s mother’s quest for justice will expand in the coming weeks.
“Hats off to producers Barbara Broccoli, Keith Beauchamp and Whoopi Goldberg who fought to get this movie made for decades,” said Erik Lomis, president of distribution at UAR. “This weekend, the film attracted an incredibly diverse and multi-generational audience, playing in both ‘smart’ and commercial theaters. We are off to a good start. »
Focus Features’ “Tár,” another hot contender, also expanded to 36 theaters this weekend — earning an additional $360,000 — and will continue to open in other markets over the next two weeks.
Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Halloween Ends,” $41.3 million.
2. “Smile,” $12.4 million.
3. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” $7.4 million.
4. “The Woman King,” $3.7 million.
5. “Amsterdam”, $2.9 million.
6. “Don’t worry honey,” $2.2 million.
7. “Barbarian,” $1.4 million.
9. “Terrifying 2,” $850,000.
10. “Top Gun: Maverick”, $685,000.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.
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