Weekend Box Office: Halloween Ends a hit on streaming, underperforms in theaters

This weekend was supposed to be the big resurrection of the box office. After all, a highly anticipated concluding chapter of one of the most enduring franchises of all time was coming out at a time when the box office was in a bit of a slump. Box office analysts across the board predicted a return to the big opening numbers we hadn’t seen in several months. Alas, then the film was released and reviews began rolling in saying the filmmakers took a different approach to the story. This approach certainly seems to have divided fans (to say the least), judging from our own “what did you think” article. 

Halloween Ends finished its first weekend with just $41.2 million, a far cry from our own $55 million projection and $7 million off its predecessors opening. Notably, the 2018 Halloween opened to a mighty $76.2 million, although this was pre-Covid and it was a theatrical exclusive. Indeed, the big discussion today is how much opening day and date on Peacock hurt the films numbers. Universal is boasting that the movie is the most watched film or series ever on the platform, which begs the question: what’s more important? The streaming success or the underwhelming box office? 

Terrifier 2

The decision to take this one theatrical day and date was confusing at the time it was announced and now, with the numbers in, is even more baffling. In the thick of the pandemic it was understandable that you wanted to get content out to audiences who were still trepidatious about returning to theaters. However, this summer saw record breaking numbers for films that were theatrical only experiences (I’m of course talking about Top Gun: Maverick which actually returned to the Top Ten this weekend.) Even niche films in the horror genre are releasing to big numbers right now with Terrifier 2 actually gaining 6% over last weeks numbers. So this decision seems to have made no real business sense, serving only as a way to get eyes on Peacock, that with just 15 million current subscribers, isn’t even one of the top streaming services. It is understandable why Christopher Landon, director of Freaky, blasted studios for these misguided decisions.

Halloween Ends

What does this all say? Well, first and foremost, you have to make a good movie! With Halloween 2018 David Gordon Green crafted a worthy follow up to the 1978 original while giving it a modern twist. The follow-up, Halloween Kills would divide audiences who felt the film didn’t really add much to the series. Perhaps the lackluster reception of Kills had people thinking twice about returning to theaters for this one. Or perhaps word got out that Halloween Ends spends the majority of its run time following a character we had never been introduced to before, with only the last 15 minutes providing what fans had been waiting 44 years to see.

Whatever the case may be, we must do as Eric Idle tells us and “always look on the bright side of life! “For Halloween Ends that bright side is that the film’s $41 million weekend more than covers its production budget of $30 million and the coming weeks should cover its marketing spend. The real question will be how word of mouth affects this one’s hold in the weeks to come.

The final trailer for the horror film Smile, starring Sosie Bacon, Kal Penn, and Kyle Gallner, has been released online.

Perhaps another reason for Halloween Ends underwhelming opening is that the original horror film Smile seems to have taken away some of its box office dollars. Dropping just 33% for a weekend gross of $12.4 million and a cumulative $71 million, Smile is proving to be a massive word of mouth hit and should continue to play well for the foreseeable future.

The remainder of the top ten features Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile dropping just 35% of its audience for a third place finish with $7.4 million followed by The Woman King’s continued successful run with another $3.4 million added to its nearly $60 million total. David O’Russell’s star studded Amsterdam rounds out the top 5 dropping 55% of its audience from last week, which is actually a better hold than I expected given the reception the film received. The horror film Barbarian continues to hold on, pulling in another $1.4 million before it bows on HBO Max on October 25 (I recommend this one very highly, one of the most original horror films I have seen in a long time.)

Did you catch Halloween Ends in theaters this weekend or were you one of the many that decided to stay home and watch it on streaming? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to take our poll where we ask what your favorite franchise finale is. 

1 Halloween Ends $41.2 M $41.2 M
2 Smile $12.4 M $71.1 M
3 Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile $7.4 M $22.7 M
4 The Woman King $3.7 M $59.7 M
5 Amsterdam $2.8 M $11.9 M
6 Don't Worry Darling $2.1 M $42.4 M
7 Barbarian $1.4 M $38.9 M
8 Bros $920 k $10.8 M
9 Terrifier 2 $850 k $2.2 M
10 Top Gun: Maverick $680 k $715.7 M

About the Author

318 Articles Published

Brad grew up loving movies and wanting to work in the industry. Graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 before moving to Los Angeles where I was fortunate enough to join SAG-Aftra in 2012. I love every second I get to write about movies for Joblo!