Last Night in Soho is the latest from Edgar Wright, who after years of making acclaimed genre-mashup comedies with cult followings finally got a breakout hit with 2017’s Baby Driver. His new film sees him in psychological horror territory, with Thomasin McKenzie in the lead as a London-based fashion designer who travels back in time to the swinging 60s to inhabit the body of a nightclub singer played by Anya Taylor-Joy (in her first film since the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit became a sensation), and the story soon goes down a disturbing path. At 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, Last Night in Soho isn’t being as universally praised as Wright’s earlier films, but it is still high for the genre.
The other original horror film to open this weekend is Antlers. This creature feature, which stars Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons, is set in rural Oregon and draws from the indigenous Wendigo myth that involves a monster with, sure enough, antlers. Guillermo Del Toro is a producer on the Scott Cooper-directed project, which sees him in new territory after his breakthrough country music drama (Crazy Heart), crime dramas (Out of the Furnace, Black Mass), and western (Hostiles). The film is at 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.
It is hard to say where in the top five these films will end up, and they may fall behind some of the holdovers from previous weeks even beyond Dune. Horror films have had a reliable audience this year, with Halloween Kills and A Quiet Place Part II being among the year's biggest successes. However, the original films have struggled compared to the sequels. M. Night Shyamalan’s Old is the year’s only original horror film to open past $10 million, and even James Wan, who is one of the most successful horror filmmakers of recent decades, failed to find an audience for Malignant. Halloween weekend thrill-seekers may give Last Night in Soho and Antlers a boost, but it is unclear if either film has the ingredients to pull in large crowds.
Also notable at the box office this week is Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which is expanding to over 600 theaters after knocking it out of the park in its 52 theater $1.3 million debut with a $26k per theater average, the best of the year. While it is performing below Anderson’s previous films (Isle of Dogs opened to $1.6 million from 27 theaters), it is still the strongest specialty box-office performance we have seen since the pandemic began.
FUNimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Missionopens in limited. The film, which is the latest entry in the popular anime series, has made $29.3 million in Japan, and the previous film in the series grossed $13.3 million in the U.S.
On the international front, No Time to Die is finally being released in China, following last week’s Dune release. Before Dune, the last big Hollywood film to open in China was Free Guy, which opened in late August and went on to gross $98.7 million, and major Hollywood films such as Shang-Chi and Venom 2 remain unreleased in the country. No Time to Die is already Hollywood’s second biggest worldwide grosser of the year with $527 million, and though it is unlikely to catch up to Spectre’s $880 million global cume, the China release, which is the film’s last major market other than Australia, should help it pass Casino Royale’s $616 million worldwide total. China is a growing market for the James Bond series, with each film in Daniel Craig’s run as 007 being bigger than the last, going from Casino Royale ($11.7 million) to Spectre ($83.5 million), where China was the third biggest market for the film.