In a surprise move, Universal has shifted David Gordon Green’s horror outing “Halloween Kills” to a day-and-date release. The sequel will stream on Peacock on October 15, the same day it opens in theaters. “Halloween Kills” will be available free of charge to Peacock subscribers. Both Universal Pictures and Peacock are operated by NBCUniversal.
The move to streaming for the latest entry in the “Halloween” franchise is an exception to the theatrical windows established last year during the pandemic between Universal Pictures and select exhibition chains like AMC and Regal. An agreement was made between the studio and theaters where films grossing $50 million or more on opening weekend receive a 31-day window, while films below that threshold get a 17-day window. Universal previously opted out of this strategy for “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” which arrived in theaters and on Peacock simultaneously July 2. That sequel ended up pulling a worldwide box office total of more than $105 million.
Directed by David Gordon Green, “Halloween Kills” is the 10th installment in the series originated by John Carpenter and serves as a direct sequel to Green’s 2018 “Halloween.” It’s written by Green, Danny McBride, and Scott Teems. In 2018, David Gordon Green’s previous reboot “Halloween,” also starring Jamie Lee Curtis, earned more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise.
Just over a month shy of the film’s release, the timing for the “Halloween Kills” announcement is roughly equal to the notice theaters had for “Boss Baby” hitting Peacock. No word yet from exhibitors, but there could be resistance ahead.
“Halloween Kills” world-premiered at the Venice Film Festival. From IndieWire’s review:
Bodies break in “Halloween Kills.” Blood paints walls, knives show real ingenuity when finding new parts of the body to carve up, and a pair of eyeballs burst like grapes under the weight of two sausage-like thumbs. And for all that, for all the carnage Michael Myers unleashes on the residents of Haddonfield, IL, a masked madman might be the lesser of their concerns. Because even as they live with the toll and trauma of killer Mike’s many reigns of terror, a far weightier Chef’s Knife of Damocles hangs over the townspeople’s heads — that $159.3 million the 2018 “Halloween” reboot banked at the domestic box-office.
To the townspeople’s corporeal misfortune, the $159.3 million check — $255.6 million worldwide! — was cashed by a Hollywood where successful performances don’t get sequels, they get sagas. Where one film’s promise that “Evil dies tonight” runs headfirst into next year’s promise of a threequel, just you wait. And thus, returning director David Gordon Green is stranded at an impasse: If his narrative picks up right where it left off, his story must remain in neutral, withholding any logical continuation for 2023’s “Halloween Ends.”
Tom Brueggemann contributed reporting.