October Delivered a Record $820 Million at the Domestic Box Office
by Brad Brevet
November 7, 2018
Another month and another record falls as October 2018 domestic calendar grosses topped $800 million for the first time ever, outperforming last October by more than +47%. Leading the charge was Sony's Venom, but it was a collective effort among several films including fellow October releases A Star is Born and Halloween, all of which topped $100 million at the domestic box office compared to last year, which didn't see a single film generate over $83 million over the course of the month. In fact, this is the first time ever more than one film brought in over $100 million in the month of October as studios continue to find ways to make use of a year-round release calendar.
For the second time this year, Universal topped all studios with October grosses totaling just shy of $250 million from eight films in release. Leading the way was the studio's release of Halloween, which delivered the second largest October opening of all-time with $76.2 million and currently ranks as the fourth largest R-rated horror film of all-time. And from a franchise perspective it is easily the highest grossing the Halloween franchise and on top of that has already out-grossed the last three entries combined.
Universal also saw the late September release Night School contribute nearly $45 million to its October bottom line while the mid-October release of First Man didn't quite take off for the studio as many thought it would, grossing just under $40 million following its October 12 release.
Overall, Universal saw a significant jump in its 2018 grosses. The studio trailed its 2017 grosses by -14% at the end of September, but as of October 31, the studio's $1.41 billion in 2018 domestic grosses is just -2.8% behind 2017 and this weekend's upcoming release of Illumination's The Grinch should add a considerable amount to the bottom line.
Sony hasn't topped monthly grosses since January of this year, but they came close in October, trailing Universal by less than $12 million, bringing in $234.5 million from eight films in release. Of those eight, the early October release of Venom contributed $190 million, over 81% of the studio's monthly gross. Along the way Venom delivered October's largest opening weekend of all-time with $80.25 million and the film will top $200 million domestically by the time of publication. Combined with the studio's mid-October release of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, which brought in $39.8 million over the course of the month, the two films accounted for over 98% of the studio's monthly grosses.
For the year, Sony is currently outpacing their 2017 performance by +32% with yearly grosses now totaling over $1.07 billion. In fact, this is the first time since 2014 that the studio has topped the $1 billion mark by the end of October and they've already brought in more in 2018 than they did in all of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
After a smashing September, Warner Bros. added yet another hit to their 2018 stable in October with the release of A Star is Born. Thus far, the drama has delivered the tenth largest October opening of all-time to go along with over $165 million domestically and yet, it never hit #1 at the weekend box office. To that point, the film currently ranks as in the top twenty among films to have never hit #1 at the weekend box office, and it is going to continue climbing that list for some time.
For the year, Warner Bros. remains the second highest grossing studio behind Disney with $1.438 billion in domestic grosses. While that total is still -18.8% behind where they were last year, they closed the gap by five percentage points over the course of the month. Additionally, with the releases of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in two weeks and Aquaman in December, there is no telling just how close to last year's $2+ billion performance they will finish.
Fox continues to have a down year, finishing as the fourth highest grossing studio in October as their 2018 domestic grosses totaled $833.7 million as of the end of the month. The studio did, however, have some good news this past weekend with the November release of Bohemian Rhapsody, which debuted with over $51 million domestically. Looking ahead, the studio doesn't have much left in the way of new releases, though Steve McQueen's Widows is already performing well with critics and there is also the late addition to the release calendar in the PG-13 edit of Deadpool 2, titled Once Upon a Deadpool now set to hit theaters on December 12.
Overall, October calendar grosses finished with $820 million, topping the previous record set in 2014 by more than $60 million. For the year, 2018 continues on its record pace with yearly grosses topping $9.72 billion as of the end of October. At this pace the year is currently +5.3% ahead of the record grosses delivered in 2016 and +11.2% ahead of last year. Disney continues to lead all studios with $2.75 billion in domestic grosses as of the end of October, pacing +27.8% ahead of 2016 when the studio became the first ever to deliver over $3 billion at the domestic box office.
Finally, a list of selected films that closed out their domestic runs in October is featured below, in descending order by cumulative gross.
For a complete look at October's box office results, find calendar grosses here and grosses for all of the month's new releases here.
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