‘Halloween’ Is Still No. 1 at the Box Office, but ‘A Star Is Born’ Is the Real Story

"Hunter Killer" starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman also saw its wide release this weekend post-Relativity bankruptcy, but few cared.
Halloween is #1 at Box Office, but A Star Is Born is the Real Story

This weekend provided more of the same at the box office — not that that’s a bad thing. With “Halloween,” “A Star Is Born,” and “Venom” again occupying the top three slots, grosses for the pre-Halloween period jumped a third over last year.

“Halloween”Warner Bros.

The Blumhouse-reinvigorated “Halloween” looks like a two-week wonder with its 58 percent drop. That’s the high end for the second weekend of a seasonal release right before the holiday. It will easily surpass $150 million in gross, making it second only to “Get Out” at Blumhouse.

"A Star Is Born"
“A Star Is Born”Warner Bros.

Even so, the story of the moment remains the continued success of “A Star Is Born.” There was no real new competition (the only new wide release was Lionsgate’s “Hunter Killer,” which grossed less than $7 million), and after four weekends at #2 it will probably relinquish its slot next weekend when three significant new titles open. No matter; its awards play is right on schedule. In fact, its gross is more than $60 million ahead of what “Argo,” the last major-studio Best Picture winner, earned at the same point in its run.

“Hunter Killer”

Beyond the frontrunners, the weekend is often a dumping ground and this year was no exception. “Hunter Killer” is a “Hunt for Red October”-meets-“Air Force One” Gerard Butler vehicle, costarring Gary Oldman in his first film since his Oscar win. It was actually filmed before “Darkest Hour’ and would have been released earlier but its original distributor, Relativity, lost the film in a bankruptcy sale. That transition doesn’t doom a film (A24 scored well with “The Lobster,” which it acquired after another company went under), but it is a handicap when its topicality reaches the public more than a year later than intended.

It fared better than several other new releases. Universal, which already has a $100 million worldwide success with “Johnny English Strikes Again,” the third in that comedy series starring Rowan Atkinson earned $1.6 million in a 540-theater release. Not a disaster, but an also-ran. Still, more than it might have done in a more competitive weekend.

The faith-based military chaplain marital drama “Indivisible” scored worse, with just under $1.6 million in 830 theaters. But neither can compare to the around $150,000 earned by “London Fields,” based on Martin Amis’ well-known crime thriller. It found 600 screens, impressively corralled by its distributor. However, it saw an average of fewer than 30 patrons over three days, which is scraping the bottom.

DF-03394_R2 - Amandla Stenberg and Algee Smith in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE HATE U GIVE. Photo Credit: Erika Doss.
“The Hate U Give”Photo Credit: ERIKA DOSS

Back on the positive side, “The Hate U Give”continues to show strength with a respectable drop of 33 percent. Studios are often called out when they release titles that require special handling, but Fox seems to have handled this story of an African-American police shooting with finesse and nuance. As much as $30 million is possible.

“Venom” continues its march to over $200 million with a 40 percent drop and over a half billion worldwide. Sony also has the #4 film, “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween,” with the seasonal holiday family film down only 23 percent.

“First Man” continued its mixed results, with a 40 percent drop that will make it hard to hold theaters. It will gross around $50 million, which means it likely loses money. Still, it will have been seen by as many or more moviegoers than many awards-contending films.

Also making the top 10 was the expansion of Jonah Hill’s “Mid90s” in a little over 1,000 theaters. More analysis on this and other specialized films here.

The Top Ten

1. Halloween (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$32,045,000 (-58%) in 3,990 theaters (+62); PTA (per theater average): $8,031; Cumulative: $126,698,000

2. A Star Is Born (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend #2

$14,145,000 (-26%) in 3,904 theaters (+20); PTA: $3,623; Cumulative: $148,722,000

3. Venom (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #3

$10,800,000 (-40%) in 3,567 theaters (-320); PTA: $3,028; Cumulative: $187,282,000

4. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$7,500,000 (-23%) in 3,723 theaters (+202); PTA: $2,015; Cumulative: $38,349,00

5. Hunter Killer (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 42; Est. budget: $40 million

$6,650,000 in 2,720 theaters; PTA: $2,438; Cumulative: $6,650,000

6. The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox) Week 4; Last weekend #6

$5,100,000 (-%) in 2,375 theaters (+72); PTA: $2,147; Cumulative: $18,300,000

7. First Man (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$4,935,000 (-41%) in 2,959 theaters (-681); PTA: $1,668; Cumulative: $37,880,000

8. Smallfoot (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last weekend #7

$4,750,000 (-28%) in 2,662 theaters (-370); PTA: $1,784; Cumulative: $72,591,000

9. Night School (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #8

$3,255,000 (-33%) in 1,991 theaters (-305); PTA: $1,635; Cumulative: $71,451,000

10. Mid90s (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #20

$3,000,000 (+1,062%) in 1,206 theaters (+1,202); PTA: $2,488; Cumulative: $3,350,000


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