'Halloween' Looks to Scare Up $70M Opening, Helping October 2018 Maintain a Record Pace
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $33.3 million on Friday, Universal and Blumhouse's Halloween is on its way to a massive opening and perhaps a new October opening weekend of its own as Universal is already forecasting an $80.3 million three-day debut. That is just enough to top Venom's $80.25 million opening just a few weeks ago and the studio must be quite confident in the film's prospects to come out this early with a forecast that high, though rival studios are already forecasting a performance that tops $81 million. The film received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Fox's The Hate U Give expanded nationwide this weekend into 2,303 locations (+2,055) and pulled in an estimated $2.5 million on Friday and is looking at a $8 million three-day.

Fox Searchlight's The Old Man & the Gun also expanded nationwide this weekend, playing in 802 locations (+574) and pulled in an estimated $690,000 on Friday and is looking at a top ten finish with a three-day around $2.3 million.

Annapurna's expansion of The Sisters Brothers isn't managing quite as well in its expansion into 1,141 locations (+(1,012) as it brought in an estimated $230,000 on Friday and is looking at a three-day right around $785,000 and a disappointing $425 per theater average.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Universal's Halloween grossed a massive $7.7 million from Thursday night previews in ~3,200 theaters last night with showings beginning at 7PM. This is more than $2 million more than The Nun brought in from previews just last month before opening with $53.8 million.

Additionally, Fox held preview screenings in advance of The Hate U Give expanding nationwide this weekend and the film brought in $300,000 from ~1,600 locations from previews beginning at 7PM.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: As of yesterday, October is pacing a massive +42.3% ahead of October 2017. In fact, October 2018 is narrowly outpacing October 2014, the largest October on record, and this weekend should help increase that lead. Universal and Blumhouse's Halloween is poised to deliver what will now be the second largest October opening ever behind Venom, which broke the record only a couple weeks ago. The weekend also sees the nationwide expansion of Fox's The Hate U Give, which is expected to deliver in the mid-to-high single digit millions, but could break out a bit higher after a strong showing in limited release.

October 2018 is going big when it comes to new releases and after this weekend the month will feature three of the top ten October releases of all-time after Venom's chart-topping, $80.2 million debut and A Star is Born's $42.9 million opening on the same weekend. Added to the list will be this weekend's release of Universal and Blumhouse's Halloween, which the studio is currently anticipating an opening north of $50 million, and we're seeing evidence of an opening not only north of $50 million, but $65 million if not higher.

A look at IMDb page view data shows Halloween outpacing the likes of The Conjuring, which debuted with $41.8 million from just 2,903 locations, more than one thousand fewer than the massive 3,928 theaters Halloween will open in this weekend. It's also vastly outperforming The Conjuring 2, which delivered a $40.4 million opening in June 2016. Additionally, online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports the film is outselling The Nun at the same point in the company's sales cycle and to top it off, reviews have been strong, earning a 69 rating on Metacritic and an 83% rating on RottenTomatoes.

Overall, we're anticipating a debut around $70 million, enough to become the second largest October opening of all-time and the second largest opening for an R-rated horror film behind last year's monster, $123.4 million debut for It.

In second place we're looking for Warner Bros.'s A Star is Born to jump ahead of Venom for the first time, dipping around -33% for a second weekend in a row and a $19 million three-day for a domestic gross topping $125 million after 17 days in release. As for Venom, look for it to slide into third, dropping around -54% this weekend for a $16 million three-day and a domestic cume headed toward $170 million after 17 days in release.

Fourth and fifth place should be an interesting race. Last weekend Sony's release of Goosebumps 2 played as expected, delivering $15.8 million, while Universal's First Man fell short of Mojo's pre-weekend forecast, narrowly edging out Goosebumps with a $16 million debut. When it comes to First Man, comparisons to the likes of Argo and Bridge of Spies have been made and for that to hold true it is going to need to drop just 26% or better this weekend. While First Man has played relatively even with Bridge of Spies on a daily basis, it has done so in 829 more theaters.

Added to that, both Spies and First Man received strong reviews, yet a look at audience response to the two films shows much stronger numbers for Spies when comparing audience scores on RottenTomatoes. The difference in First Man's "B+" CinemaScore to the "A" for Bridge of Spies is also another indicator. All of this is to say we're expecting a larger drop than the -26% Spies experienced in its sophomore session and nowhere near Argo's -15.5% second weekend dip. Right now we're looking for a dip around -41% and a $9.4 million second weekend, pushing the film's domestic total over $30 million by the end of the weekend.

Nipping at First Man's heels in fifth place look for Goosebumps 2 to drop around -42% or so for a $9.2 million second weekend and a domestic cume right around $28 million by the end of day on Sunday.

Just outside the top five we find Fox's The Hate U Give. The film, an adaptation of Angie Thomas's New York Times bestseller, expands to 2,303 locations (+2,055) this weekend after a solid showing in limited release over the past two weekend including a top ten finish from just 248 locations last weekend. As noted in the lede, the studio is anticipating a debut in the mid-to-high single digit millions, which pretty much meshes with our expectations, though we are seeing some evidence it could pop a bit higher, though we're trying to keep expectations in check for the time being, anticipating a $7.5 million performance this weekend.

Rounding out the top ten, Fox Searchlight will expand the release of The Old Man & the Gun into 802 locations (+574). Right now we're expecting a performance around $1.75 million for the three-day.

Outside the top ten we're looking at the fifth weekend, nationwide expansion of Annapurna's The Sisters Brothers. The film is expanding into 1,141 locations (+1,012), though it has yet to really land with audiences in its limited release. In attempting to provide a forecast we're looking at Focus Features's Nocturnal Animals as a guide and it saw a 352% increase when it expanded nationwide, which would put Sisters Brothers around $1.2 million for the weekend, though that feels as if it might be a bit generous.

Additionally, we'll be keeping an eye on Amazon Studios's Beautiful Boy, which topped the weekend chart last weekend with an impressive $54,722 per theater average from just four locations. This weekend the film expands into 48 theaters in the top 11 markets.

In limited release this weekend, Fox Searchlight will be releasing Can You Ever Forgive Me? into five theaters; Bleecker Street will release What They Had into four theaters; IFC will issue Wildlife into four locations; and A24 will debut Mid90s, also in four theaters.

Overall, should our forecast hold true, we're looking at what could be the second largest October weekend ever with the top twelve generating somwhere around $150 million.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Halloween (3,928 theaters) - $70.0 M
  • A Star is Born (3,884 theaters) - $19.0 M
  • Venom (3,887 theaters) - $16.0 M
  • First Man (3,640 theaters) - $9.4 M
  • Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (3,521 theaters) - $9.2 M
  • The Hate U Give (2,303 theaters) - $7.5 M
  • Smallfoot (3,032 theaters) - $5.9 M
  • Night School (2,292 theaters) - $4.9 M
  • Bad Times At The El Royale (2,808 theaters) - $3.7 M
  • The Old Man & the Gun (802 theaters) - $1.7 M

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