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‘Halloween’ Killed but ‘The Last Duel’ Is Dead as ‘No Time to Die’ Lives On

Total grosses remain improved, but the routes taken to that result are not the anticipated ones. The new normal is very different.

“Halloween Kills”

Universal Pictures

It’s a strange time for theaters. With a $50 million opening weekend for “Halloween Kills,” that means the Universal title won’t have Premium Video on Demand play for 31 days… but how meaningful is that when the Blumhouse/Miramax sequel is already available free to Peacock subscribers?

Even with home access, it still grossed only $5 million less than “No Time to Die” last weekend. The production cost for the horror franchise was less than one-tenth of Daniel Craig’s James Bond finale.

“Kills” by far has the largest opening total for any film to premiere on a streamer with no PVOD charge (“Black Widow” cost $29.99). It bested “A Quiet Place Part 2” (Paramount) despite that film’s Memorial Day weekend placement, no competition of note, and of course theater exclusivity.

Since it lacked premium-screen surcharge admissions, “Kills” probably sold as many tickets as Bond did last weekend. The Peacock access also means lower film rental costs for theaters, and a higher return.

The message remains that action-oriented franchises that appeal to younger, more minority-tilted audiences (per Universal, the audience for “Kills” was 36 percent white) are far more reliable draws than more expensive titles with older appeal.  That it opened to 90 percent as much as “No Time” — and with Peacock — will resonate within studio thinking.

Also resonating are the deeply disappointing results for Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel,” a Disney-inherited Fox title that took in only $4.8 million (and a paltry $4.2 million abroad). Its appeal was older, with stars (Ben Affleck, Adam Driver, Matt Damon), some festival play, and some key positive reviews. Its budget is unpublished, but Scott’s films usually cost $100 million or more.

A film like this is a Disney anomaly and it is hard to imagine it will do anything similar in the future. It’s also another nail in the coffin for a certain kind of filmmaking.

“No Time to Die” continues to be good but not great. The 56 percent second-weekend drop is slightly more than “Spectre” or “Skyfall.” At $99.5 million domestic, it lags the 10-day totals for “Spectre” ($129 million) and “Skyfall” ($161 million). It faces “Dune” next week with some overlap in audience. Unlike the previous two Bonds, it won’t get a boost from Thanksgiving play in its fourth week.

Worldwide total is now $447 million ($53 million additional this weekend in foreign territories), with China and Australia ahead. It has a chance of reaching “F9” ($716 million) worldwide as the top grossing non-Chinese production this year. But it will fall short of “Spectre” ($880 million) and “Skyfall” ($1.1 billion). Its producers face a difficult task in the post-Craig era to create a formula that can justify the massive production and marketing costs that Bond films demand.

Total business was $111 million this weekend. That is 80 percent of 2019’s result same time. It raises our four-week running comparison to 71 percent and next weekend could reach close to parity. Even with uneven results, the trend is good.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” at $218 million with an 18 percent fall, had the best hold. “The Addams Family 2,” already on PVOD, fell only 29 percent with $42 million in.

“Lamb” from Iceland crossed the $2 million mark, although it fell 46 percent while adding 282 theaters. That should boost awareness when it hits home viewing.

“Honsla Rahk” (Indin) came in #7. The Vancouver-set, Punjabi-language romcom had a per-theater average of over $9,000. “Most Eligible Bachelor” in Telugu, made in India, came in #10.

“Bergman Island”

A week ahead of its PVOD debut, Mia Hansen-Love’s highly acclaimed Swedish-set drama “Bergman Island” took in only $55,000 in 115 theaters, even with excellent reviews.

At least we know that figure. AppleTV’s “The Velvet Underground” opened in an uncertain number of theaters this weekend, with grosses (as usual) withheld as it also played on the streamer.

“The Rescue” (Greenwich), a National Geographic-produced documentary about the Thai cave rescue, expanded to 552 theaters, taking in $386,000. It played best in core specialized theaters.


The Top 10 

1. Halloween Kills (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic: 42; Est. budget: $22 million; also on Peacock

$50,350,00 in 3,705 theaters; PTA: $13,590; Cumulative: $50,350,000

2. No Time to Die (United Artists) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$24,299,000 (-56%) in 4,407 theaters (no change); PTA: $5,514; Cumulative: $99,509,000

3. Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$16,500,000 (-48%) in 4,013 theaters (-212); PTA: $4,112; Cumulative: $168,078,000

4. The Addams Family 2 (United Artists) Week 3; Last weekend #3; also on Premium VOD

$7,195,000 (-29%) in 3,607 theaters (-600); PTA: $1,995; Cumulative: $42,273,000

5. The Last Duel (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 62; Est. budget: $100 million+

$4,820,000 in 3,065 theaters; PTA: $1,573; Cumulative: $4,820,000

6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Dragons (Disney) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$3,540,000 (-18%) in 2,300 theaters (-500); PTA: $1,539; Cumulative: $218,071,000

7. Honsla Rakh (Indin) NEW

$(est.) 700,000 in 77 theaters; PTA: $9,091; Cumulative: $(est.) 700,000

8. Free Guy (Disney) Week 10; Last weekend #6; also on Premium VOD

$680,000 (-45%) in 915 theaters (-580); PTA: $743; Cumulative: $120,814,000

9. Lamb (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #8

$543,004 (-46%) in 767 theaters (+184); PTA: $628; Cumulative: $2,038,000

10. Most Eligible Bachelor (Sarigama)

$(est.) 470,000 in 195 theaters; PTA: $2,410; Cumulative: $(est.) 470,000


Additional specialized/limited/independent releases


Bergman Island (IFC) – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, New York 2021

$55,000 in 115 theaters; PTA: $478

Hard Luck Love Song (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 65

$36,695 in 172 theaters; PTA: $213

Luzzu (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: Sundance, New Directors/New Films 2021

$3,082 in 1 theater; PTA: $3,082

The Rescue (Greenwich) Week 2

$386,400 in 552 (+547) theaters; Cumulative: $460,087

Mass (Bleecker Street) Week 2

$ in 37 (+33) theaters; Cumulative: $48,451

The Jesus Music (Lionsgate) Week 3

$37,000 in 103 (-167) theaters; Cumulative: $990,470

I’m Your Man (Bleecker Street) Week 5

$26,570 in 103 (-19) theaters; Cumulative: $229,598

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Searchlight) Week 6

$24,000 in 55 (-70) theaters; Cumulative: $2,368,000


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