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411 Box Office Report: Halloween Kills Sets Pandemic R-Rated Record With $50.4 Million Start

October 17, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Halloween Kills Michael Myers Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Michael Myers murdered his way to a big-time box office win this weekend, as Halloween Kills overperformed to a big #1 start. Universal Pictures’ hotly-anticipated slasher sequel took the #1 spot at the box office this weekend with $50.4 million. That’s an impressive start, surpassing the $40 million expectations heading into the weekend, and set pandemic-era records as top horror opening and top R-rated opening, beating out A Quiet Place Part II’s $47.5 million for the former and The Suicide Squad’s $26.2 million for the latter.

There is a ton for Universal and Blumhouse to be happy about with this opening. Sure, it’s down from the $76.2 million start of 2018’s Halloween but that was always expected for a few reasons. For one, Halloween was the return of this beloved slasher franchise after 11 years and had much higher anticipation. Second, we have the pandemic of course which is still having an impact on the box office. And finally, Halloween Kills released day-and-date on Peacock, so if audiences wanted to stay home to see it they could have (and many did). So there is little doubt that this is a big win for Universal and theatrical both.

Halloween Kills had a ton of hype heading into the weekend, even with a less fabulous reception than its immediate predecessor. Having been delayed several times due to the pandemic, slasher fans were fervantly waiting this one and the 38% critic consensus on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes didn’t do anything to depress that anticipation. Kills had the benefit of targeting a younger crowd who are more likely to be heading out to theaters right now, and though the audience reception is lower than Halloween at a B- CinemaScore to its predecessor’s B+, it also had marginally better day-to-day holds through the weekend than Halloween.

Clearly, Kills is a massive hit for Universal already, even if you consider the costs related to the release date changes. The production budget for the movie was just $20 million, and even the hefty advertising budget has this headed well into profit. The 2018 Halloween had a 2.09 multiple from its opening weekend, and Kills should at least be able to do that so $100 million should be likely domestically. It has added $5.5 million overseas with its international rollout just starting.

Daniel Craig’s final film as 007 slipped a spot to #2 as No Time to Die grossed $24.3 million. That’s down an expected 56% from its opening weekend. The James Bond is now at $99.5 million domestically and $447.8 million worldwide, both very solid numbers for this film. No Time to Die is proving to have pretty typical Bond holds, and is still on course for around $150 million or so in the US, with the international numbers likely to push it to profit even against a $250 million production budget plus marketing.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage was down 48% in its third weekend, as the Sony Marvel film grossed $16.5 million. That’s a solid third weekend that brings the Spider-Man-adjacent flick up to $168.1 million domestically and $283.7 million worldwide. The sequel is still looking likely to top $200 million without breaking a sweat in the US and will be a hit for its studios against a $110 million budget.

Addams Family 2 held well, down just 29% in its third weekend to $7.2 million. The animated family comedy has tallied up $42.3 million domestically and $58.5 million to date, solid numbers for a film that likely cost somewhere around the first one’s $24 million. (We don’t have confirmed budget numbers for the sequel yet). Addams Family 2 won’t come near its predecessor’s $203.7 million worldwide total, but it will be nicely profitable especially when you consider that the film is already available on digital through online marketplaces.

Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel flat-out bombed, grossing a mere $4.8 million in its opening weekend. The acclaimed period drama fell below even the modest $8 million expectations most analysts had for it, making it a major disappointment for 20th Century Studios.

Scott’s film was always fighting an uphill battle, to be fair to it. This is a period drama about sexual assault that targeted an older demographic, who have proven to be theater-shy during the pandemic. That meant that even with glowing reviews this wasn’t going to attract much attention, and while those reviews did come (the RT average is 86%), the theater goers did not. The Last Duel scored a B+ CinemaScore which may help its box office legs, but the damage may be done here. We don’t have budget numbers on this, but period films like this don’t tend to be low budget and the idea of this one making it to profit seems unlikely.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was down a mere 18% in its seventh weekend with 32.5 million. The MCU film has now grossed $218.1 million domestically and $405.9 million worldwide, surpassing Thor: The Dark World’s domestic gross and primmed to top Ant-Man and the Wasp’s $216.6 million shortly. It is looking likely to close out around $230 million or so and is a smash for Marvel against a $150 million production budget.

Punjabi film Honsla Rakh is the latest film from India to make a bit of a splash in the US, opening at #7 with $706,000. The Canadian-set romantic comedy is doing quite well in India where it had the highest opening for a Punbjabi-language film ever. It will disappear from the charts very quickly in the states, but that’s just icing on the cake for a film like this.

Free Guy was down 45% in its tenth weekend, bringing in $680,000. The video game-inspired action-comedy is now up to $120.8 million domestically and $323.3 million worldwide, a great result against a $100 million budget. It should be able to end its run north of $125 million.

A24’s drama Lamb was down 46% in its second weekend to $543,000. The Noomi Rapace-starring film has now grossed $2 million domestically and should be able to reach $4 million to $5 million domestically, which will be a fine result for it.

A second Indian film hit the top 10 this week, as Telugu-language romantic comedy Most Eligible Bachelor grossed $470,000. This may be the first time that two Indian films have scored in the top 10 domestically. Much like Honsla Rakh, there’s no word on this film’s budget.

Next weekend see almost certainly see Michael Meyers fall to the spice, as Denis Villeneuve’s Dune finally arrives. The hotly-anticipated film is expected to open around $30 million to $40 million. Meanwhile, animated comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong opens for 20th Century and seems likely for a modest start.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Halloween Kills – $50.4 million ($50.4 million total)
2. No Time to Die – $24.3 million ($99.5 million total)
3. Venom: Let There Be Carnage – $16.5 million ($168.1 million total)
4. The Addams Family 2 – $7.2 million ($42.3 million total)
5. The Last Duel – $4.8 million ($4.8 million total)
6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – $3.5 million ($218.1 million total)
7. Honsla Rakh – $706,000 ($706,000 total)
8. Free Guy – $680,000 ($120.8 million total)
9. Lamb – $543,000 ($2 million total)
10. Most Eligible Bachelor – $470,000 ($470,000 total)