Late October used to be a bonfire where distributors dumped a lot of movies –the third weekend of October 2017 had as many as five wide releases, many which tanked. But in the wake of last year’s Halloween from Universal/Blumhouse/Miramax, which charted the second best opening for the month with $76.2M, studios now realize how strong the latter part of October can be for branded product. This morning, tracking shows that Disney’s Oct. 18 sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is set to open to $50M, while Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap is on course to do $25M.
Disney was originally going to launch Mistress of Evil over the Memorial Day period 2020, but then moved it up to late October this year. The Angelina Jolie movie, a live-action spinoff of Sleeping Beauty centering around its main femme villain, saw its first chapter open to $69.4M on May 30, 2014 and leg out to $241.1M. Females over and under 25 are strong for the sequel.
Sony’s comedy horror pic Zombieland: Double Tap which reteams director Ruben Fleischer, and stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin ten years later, came on really strong with the younger under 25 crowd, but pretty steady across all demos. Some believe that Double Tap has the potential to do even $30M. The first movie opened to $24.7M and finaled at $75.6M.
Meanwhile, tracking is still seeing Warner Bros. Joker next Friday as October’s biggest opener of all-time with $84M, besting previous champ Venom ($80.2M).
In regards to Oct. 11 releases, updated projections show Paramount’s Will Smith movie from director Ang Lee, Gemini Man, strong with African Americans with $29M-$30M. MGM’s animated feature release of The Addams Family is also looking great with $28M.