First up, the good news. This weekend had the best total box office in eight weekends, led by Halloween Ends, which had the best opening in twelve weekends. The weekend was 31% above last weekend and 39% above the average of the past seven weekends.
As for the bad news, the $41.3 million opening of Halloween Ends was well below expectations, and it ranks as the lowest of the new trilogy. The iconic horror franchise was revived by director David Gordon Green in 2018, who brought back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. The film was a smash, opening to $76.2 million (still the third best ever for a horror film, and best overall for a slasher) and ultimately grossing $159 million domestically and $255 million worldwide, but the series has been declining since. The sequel Halloween Kills – possibly impacted by a combination of a sophomore slump, pandemic blues, and its availability on the Peacock streaming platform – opened to $49 million and went on to gross $92 million domestically and $132 million worldwide. As Halloween Ends released in a healthier marketplace than a year ago, it was hoped that it would at least match its predecessor.
The new film also received the trilogy’s weakest response from audiences, getting a C+ CinemaScore compared to the B+ on Halloween (2018) and B- on Halloween Kills. Reviews (40% on Rotten Tomatoes) were about on par with Halloween Kills, with both films far below the acclaimed 2018 Halloween (79%). Reviews may not matter here, and a C+ CinemaScore isn’t especially bad for a horror film, but still, there’s nothing here to suggest Halloween Ends won’t repeat Halloween Kills’ legs. If Ends has the same 1.86 multiplier as Kills, that would give it a domestic finish of $76.7 million, less than half the cume of Halloween.
Universal’s decision to release the film on Peacock day and date with its 3,901 theater release may have cost it a good chunk of the potential gross. Still, despite underperforming, the film looks like a moneymaker. It doesn’t have to worry about recouping its reported $20-30 million production budget after the $58.4 million worldwide debut, and it actually did better abroad than Halloween Kills, though these films are fairly domestic heavy. The opening is still the best of the year for a traditional horror film (excluding Jordan Peele’s Nope), and it’s still a strong opening if you put the comparisons and expectations aside.
Article courtesy of Box Office Mojo, with additional editing by 45 Lampkin Lane.