Trick or treat took on a whole new meaning at the weekend box office, where Blumhouse and Universal’s Halloween opened to a terrifying $77.5 million from 3,920 theaters, the second-best showing of all time for an R-rated horror pic.
It also scored the second-best debut ever for the month of October, coming in not far behind the record set by Venom earlier this month ($80 million).
The film — a direct sequel to the 1978 classic slasher hit that sees Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her role as the iconic Laurie Strode — is yet another victory for horror maestro Jason Blum and his micro-budgeted strategy. Halloween cost $10 million to make, with Blumhouse and Miramax co-financing. (It is the best launch to date for Blumhouse.)
Halloween sees Laurie Strode once again face off with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night in 1978. (Nick Castle reprises his role as Myers.)
Directed by David Gordon Green, Halloween wasn’t able to match New Line’s blockbuster It, which opened to $123.4 million, easily the top showing of all time for an an R-rated horror movie, not adjusted for inflation. However, it did win the crown for the top opening of all time for a Halloween-themed title opening around the holiday. The previous best was Paranormal Activity 3 ($53.8 million).
In addition to stellar reviews, Halloween nabbed a B+ CinemaScore, a good grade for the genre.
The busy weekend also saw A Star Is Born appear to narrowly top Venom for the first time. Both films, now in their third weekend, grossed roughly $19.3 million and $18.2 million for stellar North American totals of $126.4 million and $171 million-plus, respectively. Sony’s Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween followed with an estimated $18.2 million in its second outing.
In its second weekend, Universal and Oscar-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle’s First Man continued to struggle, coming in No 5 with an estimated $8.4 million for a 10-day domestic total of roughly $30 million. The astronaut drama fell roughly 48 percent, a bigger-than-hoped for drop.
With awards season in full swing, Fox 2000 expanded its YA police-shooting drama The Hate U Give into roughly 2,300 theaters. The film — earning a coveted A+ CinemaScore — came in No. 6 with a strong $7.5 million. African-Americans fueled the drama, making up nearly half the audience.
New entries at the specialty box office include Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, A24’s Mid90s. The coming-of-age dramedy, debuting in four theaters, posted the best screen average of the weekend with $62,377.
Fox Searchlight’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, starring Melissa McCarthy, followed with a screen average of $30,000 upon opening in five cinemas. Bleecker Street’s What They Had, debuting in four locations, is reporting a screen average of $4,711. In its second weekend, Amazon Studio’s Beautiful Boy upped its theater count to 48 cinemas for a screen average of $91,47.