Weekend box office: ‘Halloween’ scares up massive October opening

Masked killer Michael Myers (Jim Courtney) in "Halloween." Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Weekend Box Office: October 19-21, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) –Two weeks ago Hollywood was celebrating the October record-breaking opening of Sony’s “Venom.” $80.25 million in a month that isn’t synonymous with blockbusters felt like a major achievement. Here we are days later and “Halloween,” a sequel to the classic 1978 slasher film, and that record has almost been equaled.

Opening with $77.5 million, “Halloween” falls short of being the October box office champion, but it does make the film the highest money earner the franchise has ever had. Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake held the previous record with $58 million domestically. It took that film 15 weeks to reach that number. Of course, if we go with actual ticket sales and adjust for inflation, John Carpenter’s original film’s $47 million total would be pushed up to $183 million.

Nonetheless, a $80-million opening is something worth crowing about for Universal Pictures, director/writer David Gordon Green and actress Jamie Lee Curtis. The film only cost $10 million to make.

Initial planning for 2018’s “Halloween” included the idea of filming two films back to back. That idea was shelved, but you can bet that Friday afternoon, if not before, Universal was already eyeing a sequel based on early reviews and buzz alone.

Overseas the film added $14 million for a worldwide opening just short of $92 million.

Pause for a moment and imagine if Universal had made “The Mummy” a horror movie, rather than caving to Tom Cruise’s ego and making a sloppy action comedy that didn’t even bother to be as much fun as the Stephen Sommers trilogy. The environment is perfect for a Dark Universe, but it needs to be built on horror tropes, not superhero templates. Let monsters be monsters.

In second place is “A Star is Born” with had another fantastic weekend as it fell only 33 percent, adding $19.3 million to its domestic total of $126 million and $200 million worldwide. That’s a massive success for Warner Bros.

“Venom” fell behind “A Star is Born” for the first time, but its $18 million moves the domestic total up to $171 million. Worldwide the film has earned $407 million.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” held on to fourth place with $9 million. The haunted sequel has earned $32 million worldwide.

First Man” fell to fifth place with $8.5 million. That’s a 46 percent drop, which isn’t terrible, but suggests that the film might not have the legs that I predicted last week. Its domestic total is just shy of $30 million. The silver lining here is that the film has earned $25 million overseas. International markets don’t tend to be all that interested in U.S. history. It would appear that space exploration is a universal intrigue.

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