While the horror finale will certainly be a success for the studio, it’s unlikely to become the draw theaters need right now
In general, the fortunes of film studios and movie theaters are intertwined — but on an individual basis, a film’s box office performance can be a success for one but not the other. This weekend’s release of Universal/Blumhouse’s “Halloween Ends” is a perfect example.
For Universal and Blumhouse, “Halloween Ends” is going to be another fruitful title from their partnership together. With the name brand of “Halloween” behind it, the two studios spent more on production and marketing than the usual Blumhouse film with a reported budget of around $30 million, which has already been recovered with a $41.2 million opening weekend.
Universal also hopes that “Halloween Ends” will bring eyes to struggling its Peacock streaming service, making the film’s day-and-date availability on streaming part of a Halloween marketing campaign advertising Blumhouse movies. While streaming viewership numbers for “Ends” versus competitors like Amazon’s “Rings of Power” and Marvel’s “Werewolf by Night” aren’t immediately available, Universal reported that “Ends” has become Peacock’s most watched film in the first two days of release.
But for theaters, this $41 million launch is only positive when contextualized against the terrible two months of box office revenue that came before it. “Ends” has earned the highest opening weekend of any film since the $44.3 million start of fellow Universal horror film “Nope” back on the weekend of July 22. So far, only 12 films have opened above $40 million this year. And with “Ends,” Universal owns four of them.
“Halloween Ends” has also pushed estimated overall weekend grosses to $81 million, the highest the North American market has seen since the $88 million total earned during the opening weekend of “Bullet Train” in early August.
But “Ends” is also below the opening weekend of last year’s “Halloween” film “Halloween Kills,” which opened to $49 million and which “Ends” was projected to match by independent trackers. This on its own wouldn’t be so bad, but audience metrics for “Ends” are also lower than “Kills,” which was already tepidly received to begin with.
The damage is as follows: a C+ on CinemaScore, 64% positive rating on Comscore/Screen Engine’s Posttrak, and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 40% critics and 56% audience. For comparison, reception scores for “Kills” were a B- on CinemaScore, 69% on Posttrak and 39%/66% split on Rotten Tomatoes.
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