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‘Halloween Ends’ #1 in Theaters While on Peacock: This Is What Win-Win Looks Like

Here's why the $50 million opening estimates were too generous for the trilogy capper — and why exhibitors got a good deal.

Michael Myers (aka The Shape) in Halloween Ends, co-written, produced and directed by David Gordon Green.

“Halloween Ends”

Ryan Green/Universal Pictures

With $41.25 million, “Halloween Ends” (Universal) from Blumhouse Prods. provided the biggest opening weekend since July with “Nope” (another Universal release). Budgeted at $30 million pre-marketing, David Gordon Green’s final film in his “Halloween” trilogy is the 16th Blumhouse title to take the #1 spot.

Tracking pegged this as a potential $50 million+ opener and last year’s “Halloween Kills” on the same weekend came in just below that number. However, that entry dropped 71 percent in its second weekend and received a B- Cinemascore; this one got a C+ from Thursday and Friday viewers, which suggests immediate bad word of mouth.

“Kills” dropped 24 percent on Saturday; “Ends” fell 36 percent. That suggests audience reaction played a big role in the would-be shortfall. It also faced competition from another horror film Paramount’s “Smile.”

Like last year, “Ends” streamed day-and-date on Peacock. While that might cut into theatergoing, it also leads to an upfront reduction of the film rentals theaters pay. Scary movie-lovers who crave the communal experience are less likely to jump at the chance of seeing it at home on opening weekend. And of course, the Peacock subscription base doesn’t compare to Netflix or Disney.

So, win-win? Yes, but it doesn’t address the anxiety around facing change. Understanding that different mixtures of theatrical and home release strategies can work to everyone’s benefit will only aggravate those who prefer the older, more binary approach to distribution.

Smile, Sosie Bacon

“Smile”

screenshot/Paramount Picture

In its third weekend, “Smile” fell only 33 percent. Combined, “Smile” and “Ends” grossed more than “Kills” last year. Don’t be surprised if two weekends from now, just before Halloween, “Smile” actually grosses more (by then, it could reach $100 million). It’s the happiest surprise of the season so far, and not just because of the gross. It also serves notice to studios that while a lower-budget film might boost its streamer, there’s a much greater bounty in a theatrical bullseye.

Overall, grosses rose to $80 million for the weekend. For the third straight weekend, grosses fell behind the same date in 2021, which totaled $109 million. That places it 57 percent of the same weekend in 2019 and raises the four-week running comparison to 57 percent. “Black Adam” (Warner Bros.) opens next Friday, with anticipated initial results of at least $65 million. Halfway through the month, total gross is only $230 million. October 2019 took in $782 million; in 2021, $623 million.

Amsterdam

“Amsterdam”

Focus Features

Other than the doomed “Amsterdam” (Disney), which is down 55 percent in its second weekend, and “Bros” (Universal), off 57 percent in its third, top 10 holdovers fell less than 40 percent. Second weekend of Sony’s underwhelming animated “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” #3, was down a third. #4 “The Woman King” (Sony) lost only 29 percent. “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount), which ended up last weekend’s top 10 after all, was off only 15 percent.

“Terrifier 2” (Cinedigm/Iconic) actually gained 6 percent in its second weekend in 700 theaters at #9. It was the highest gross among several notable first- and second-week independent titles. “TÁR” (Focus) and “Triangle of Sadness” (Neon) had successful second-week expansions, while “Till” (United Artists) and “Decision to Leave” (MUBI) had successful more limited openings. More detailed analysis shortly in our  specialized report.

 

The Top 10

1. Halloween Ends (Universal) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 45; Est. budget: $30 million; also on Peacock

$41,250,000 in 3,901 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,574; Cumulative: $41,250,000

2. Smile (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #1

$12,400,000 (-33%) in 3,612 (-47) theaters; PTA: $3,433; Cumulative: $71,168,000

3. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$7,400,000 in (-35%) 4,350 (no change) theaters; PTA: $1,701; Cumulative: $22,757,000

4. The Woman King (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #4

$3,700,000 (-29%) in 2,565 (-777) theaters; PTA: $1,442; Cumulative: $59,746,000

5. Amsterdam (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$2,891,000 (-55%) in 3,005 theaters (no change); PTA: $962; Cumulative: $11,959,000

6. Don’t Worry Darling (WBD) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$2,185,000 (-38%) in 2,734 (-590) theaters; PTA: $799; Cumulative: $42,403,000

7. Barbarian (Disney) Week 7; Last weekend #7

$1,411,000 (-36%) in 1,805 (-355) theaters; PTA: $782; Cumulative: $38,962,000

8. Bros (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #8

$920,000 (-57%) in 2,201 (-1,155) in theaters; PTA: $418; Cumulative: $10,830,000

9. Terrifier 2 (Cinedigm/Iconic) Week 2; Last weekend #11

$850,000 (+6) in 700 (-70) theaters; PTA: $1,214; Cumulative: $2,295,000

10. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount) Week 21; Last weekend #10; also on VOD

$685,000 (-15%) in 700 -(225) theaters (-186); PTA: $759; Cumulative: $715,756,000

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