Sunday AM Update with chart after Friday 11:04PM and Saturday AM update: While it’s often written that the weekend that lands prior to or around Halloween is deathly slow, it really depends on what the studios put on the marquee. We could have said the same thing about the third weekend in October, that it’s just a platform for lackluster wares, a pig pile of counter-programming.
But Universal/Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween proved that business theory wrong last weekend with the second-best start ever for the month with $76.2M. And the horror sequel is showing again that there’s money to be made at the end of October, with a studio-reported second weekend of $32M second weekend, -58%, a great hold for a slasher, beating the second weekend of such horror movies as The Nun (-66%) and The Conjuring 2 (-63%) and not that far from Annabelle: Creation (-55%). Halloween saw a $13.8M second Saturday, repping a 38% uptick over its second Friday.
The Blumhouse/Miramax/Universal pic’s success has further catapulted October to record levels, potentially an all-time one. Total weekend ticket sales for all films this weekend are estimated around $101M, +32% from last year. ComScore reports a new October record of $789.9M, besting October 2014’s $757.1M record.
On Friday night, the David Gordon Green-directed sequel crossed $104.6M. By the end of today, Halloween will stand at $126.7M, easily beating the lifetime cumes of Blumhouse’s highest grossing Paranormal Activity ($107M), but not the label’s highest-grossing movie yet (that still belongs to Get Out at $176M). Halloween’s domestic ticket sales will soon surpass New Line’s The Conjuring ($137.4M).
The amount of money which Halloween is set to make is generally what a strong movie makes in the final corridor of October, i.e. Puss in Boots ($34M), Saw III ($33.6M), and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa ($32M).
However, this weekend, none of the studios wanted to compete in the wake of Halloween, and really didn’t push their best fare out there. Distributors will have excuses that audiences are distracted by Halloween parties and an East vs. West Coast World Series, but, hello — Halloween is doing over $30M-plus worth of business! It’s all about whether great product is available to go wide. Not to mention, when there’s a great horror film during the Halloween season, audiences will go and find time for it in the mix of their partying and trick or treating. For two of the wide releases this weekend–Lionsgate/Summit Premiere’s meat-and-potatoes Gerard Butler action-thriller Hunter Killer and Universal/Working Title’s Johnny English Strikes Again—it’s all about the overseas box office anyway. The U.S./Canada market is an afterthought.
The Millennium-financed Hunter Killer is deep-sixing in 5th place with a studio-reported $6.6M at 2,720 theaters, lower than what the industry was figuring on Saturday morning. It’s Butler’s second stateside release this year after STX’s Den of Thieves, which opened to $15.2M and finaled at $44.9M domestic, $80.5M WW. The actor has survived single-digit openings before in his career, but this is his first since 2012’s Playing for Keeps ($5.7M). Industry sources are figuring that the movie cost around $40M, and that Bulter was paid around $10M. Lionsgate took U.S. and U.K. rights, apparently covering 10% of the production cost (others figure that share is higher). Domestic P&A is estimated in the teens. These numbers just aren’t dazzling enough to make a case for any kind of serious stateside profit, if we figure that at bare minimum Lionsgate is in the hole for $20M. Also, when it comes to Butler lately, his worth is abroad, where his movies can do well over $100M, including his recent clunkers Geostorm ($187.9M foreign to $33.7M domestic) and Gods of Egypt ($119.5M to $31.1M). Today’s $2.5M includes $420K Thursday previews at 2,200.
Those who bought tickets were 62% male to 38% female and 85% over 25 years old. Mix was 57% Caucasian, 18% Hispanic, 14% Asian, and 10% African American. The film is doing scattered business throughout the country with the top five theaters coming from DC, Omaha, Seattle, Oklahoma City, and Columbia SC. LA & NY.
Critics deep-sixed Hunter Killer for being cliche with a 38% Rotten Tomatoes score. The only upside here is that CinemaScore audiences aren’t being so cruel about the film, with an A- (Den of Thieves earned a B+), ditto for PostTrak at 4 stars. The only problem is that there’s not enough moviegoers for this submarine film to catch a wave. Says RelishMix about the social media sentiment, which clocks around 45M in its presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube views, “Most of those who chimed in on the film’s materials were not impressed or felt like it’s the wrong time for an international thriller featuring nuclear weapons.”
Johnny English Strikes Again, the third in the Rowan Atkinson comedy series, will make Working Title and Universal executives happy this weekend as it shoots the $100M threshold, with $15M alone from the UK. Uni went limited with the pic at 544 locations and it’s nothing fantastic, with a $1.6M weekend in 12th place after a $517K Friday and $672K Saturday . Critics have decided they’ve had enough of this 15-year-old franchise, which once upon a time, with its first installment, drew a $28M final gross stateside, repping 18% of its final $160M global take. Again, it’s an obligation for the studio to release the movie stateside, not a priority like other markets where Atkinson still wins out. Huge social media universe here of 202.6M for the threequel, according to RelishMix, but it’s all driven by international reach and activity.
Pureflix has the faith-based David G. Evans-directed title Indivisible, which tells the true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife, Heather, who look to keep their marriage together after Turner is deployed to Iraq. Pic is eyeing $1.57M at 830 runs in 11th place after a $605K Friday and $540K Saturday. South and Mid-West showtimes are the strongest for the pic, with women showing up at 55%, 89% over 25, with the best demo being those over 55 at 36%. Overall positive score here is 82% with an ‘A’ CinemaScore.
Holding firm in spots 2 and 3 will be Warner Bros./Live Nation’s A Star Is Born and Sony’s Venom, both looking at respective fourth weekends of $14.1M (-26%), and $10.8M (-40%). The Bradley Cooper-directed movie by Sunday will stand at $148.7M, while Venom will have a running total of $187.2M.
Faring well is A24’s expansion of Jonah Hill’s Los Angeles street skateboard teen drama Mid90s, which, in an expansion from 4 locations to 1,206 in 187 markets, is looking at a $1.3M Friday, weekend 2 of $3M in 10th, 10-day of $3.3M. Biggest draw were males at 62%, with 53% under 25 and the single largest quad being 18-24 at 37%. The mix was 50% Caucasian, 27% Hispanic, 15% Asian, and 7% African American. Those who showed rated it at 83% in the top two boxes, with a 62% recommend. The film had decent numbers in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, and Miami.
Amazon gets bragging rights for posting the best theater average of the year with Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 giallo Suspiria which posted $89,9K at the ArcLight Hollywood and the New York Regal Union Square for a total 3-day of $179,8K. Previous theater average record holder was National Geographic’s doc Free Solo with $73,5K. Suspiria has divided critics with them either loving or loathing the stylish horror movie about an American dancer who becomes part of a prestigious dance company in divided Berlin which also happens to be a coven of witches. Bob Berney, Amazon Studios’ Head of Marketing and Distribution, beamed: “This weekend’s opening was truly exciting, the film played to both horror/genre audiences and arthouse/specialty crowd. The film received a thunderous ovation at the ArcLight Hollywood Dome screen on Saturday where Luca Guadagnino and the cast appeared for a Q&A. Since previewing a shocking clip at CinemaCon, our online presence and social media engagement has been very robust and the anticipation really paid off this weekend.”
Sunday chart per studio-reported figures:
Saturday AM industry estimates:
WEEKEND B.O. FOR OCT. 26-28