Weekend Wrap-Up

by Tim Briody

October 21, 2018

The man behind the mask.

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The wildest October in box office history continues, as a venerable franchise returns and does some unheard of numbers.

So, you know how we frequently talk about how Blumhouse Productions is magically able to take a horror film made on the cheap, starring nobody, and make them ridiculously profitable? Now take that formula, apply it to a franchise that's existed for, oh, let's say exactly 40 years, continue (and finally conclude, maybe?) the story that one told, *and* return the original actress from the film, who went on to be a huge star. That's what happened this weekend.

Halloween, the 11th film in the franchise, earned a massive $77.5 million this weekend, on just a $15 million budget. Yes, in just one weekend, the film became the biggest film in the franchise's history (before inflation of course, the original 1978 film's $47 million total translates to over $176 million today).

Halloween is a direct sequel to the first film, which spawned six progressively forgettable sequels that have largely been retconned out of existence, a 20th anniversary film in 1998 (which also brought back star Jamie Lee Curtis and revived the franchise, earning $55 million), a 2002 sequel to *that* film (which killed the franchise for the forseeable future) and a Rob Zombie reboot in 2007 with a sequel in 2009. All that box office mediocrity is wiped away as now we have the second biggest October opening weekend, and yet another wildly profitable film from Jason Blum's company.

Why did Halloween break out huge? I think the biggest hook was the return of Curtis and the 40th anniversary, but also the reviews helped, earning 80% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, which is typically an above average score for the genre.

While I feel Halloween has a relatively short shelf life (it might hold all right next weekend, but it's going to dive off a cliff the following week), absolutely none of that matters with an opening weekend like this, and it's definitely high fives all around for everyone at Universal this weekend.

Holding in second place for the third weekend in a row is A Star Is Born, slipping just 32% to $19.3 million and giving it $126.3 million to date. The solid box office performance is definitely shoring up its credentials as a legitimate awards contender, and not just in the Best Original Song category (by the way, future Oscar winner Shallow is the #5 song in the US). If it continues to stay this leggy, it's certainly got a shot at $200 million. It will probably slow down a bit when the other "musical" awards contender hits theaters in a couple weekends in the form of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Venom slides to third place with $18.1 million, down 48% from last week and it's got $171.1 million in three weekends. It's headed to $215 million or so, which is fine, but the final gap between A Star Is Born and Venom will be much closer than you think.


Goosebumps 2 holds in fourth place with $9.7 million, a 39% dip from opening weekend. It's got $28.8 million in two weekends. It still lags considerably behind the first movie from 2015 (it had $43.7 million at this point) and really only has one more decent weekend ahead of it before the holiday window closes. The R.L. Stine sequel is probably looking at $50 million, while the first one finished with $80 million total.

First Man takes a second weekend hit of 46% to $8.5 million, which is a serious blow to its awards changes. It's got $30 million in two weekends. Hey, we don't make the rules, that just how it seems to work.

The Hate U Give expands to wide release after crashing the top ten last weekend, and earns $7.5 million. While this doesn't seem great considering how it was doing in limited release, it's a really tough sell for audiences and it's a film that's going to have to spread via word-of-mouth (the A+ CinemaScore will help, as will rating 96% Fresh), but it was never going to be a blockbuster, even if it deserves to be one. The Hate U Give has earned $10.6 million in three weekends of release, and will certainly match its $23 million budget, and remains a dark horse Oscar contender (Adapted Screenplay is a strong possibility, and star Amandla Stenberg will remain in the Best Actress conversation for a while).

Smallfoot earns $6.6 million in its fourth weekend, giving it $66.3 million to date. Warner Bros. Animation doesn't have much outside of the Lego Movie franchise, so $75-80 million or so is just fine.

Night School is almost 2018's biggest comedy, adding $5 million in its fourth weekend and giving it $66.9 million in four weeks in theaters. By next weekend it will have passed Game Night's $69 million for the top comedy of the year.

Bad Times at the El Royale (which translates to Bad Times at the The Royale) predictably takes a big second weekend dive of 54% to $3.3 million and a total of $13.3 million in two weekends. The future cult classic is behaving exactly like a future cult classic should at the box office. It will fall well short of the reported $32 million cost, but it'll likely find an audience on video.

The Old Man and the Gun expands to 802 theaters and lands in 10th place with $2 million, and $4.2 million total after four weeks of release. Based on the true story of escaped convict Forrest Tucker, the movie stars Robert Redford in what he has said would be his final acting role. The per screen is not great here at all, so I'm not sure Fox Searchlight is going to expand it much further if at all. It had some buzz coming out of the festival circuit this year but is not expected to be a major factor come awards time.

Your top 12 films this weekend earned a total of $160.3 million, a number that is...somewhat ahead of last year's $81.7 million when Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween by Tyler Perry opened with $21.2 million.

Next week we've got nothing too exciting. Action thriller Hunter Killer leads the newcomers, as well as Johnny English Strikes Again, the one time when domestic box office is simply gravy on top of its international earnings.

Top Ten for Weekend of October 19-21, 2018
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Halloween Universal 77.5 New 77.5
2 A Star Is Born Warner Bros. 19.3 -32% 126.3
3 Venom Sony Pictures 18.1 -48% 171.1
4 Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Sony Pictures 9.715 -39% 28.8
5 First Man Universal 8.5 -46% 30.0
6 The Hate U Give 20th Century Fox 7.5 +332% 10.6
7 Smallfoot Warner Bros. 6.6 -27% 66.3
8 Night School Universal 5.0 -35% 66.9
9 Bad Times at the El Royale 20th Century Fox 3.3 -54% 13.3
10 The Old Man and the Gun Fox Searchlight 2.0 +123% 4.2
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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