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SYFY WIRE Box Office

Box office: 'Come Play' scares up No. 1 spot in U.S. with $3.15 million; Halloween '78 returns for $274,000

By Josh Weiss
Come Play

A new horror flick has entered the box office chat.

Opening just in time for "Halloweekend," Come Play deposed Honest Thief for the top domestic slot with $3.15 million, Variety reports. Even with theaters outside of New York City allowed to reopen, key locations in Manhattan and Los Angeles remain shuttered amid the ongoing pandemic. As such, fresh releases aren't bringing in the big bucks like they normally do. Luckily, this project only cost around $10 million to make, so it doesn't have to recoup a ton of money in order to be considered a success.

"We’re thrilled that audiences came out to celebrate Halloween, making Come Play the No. 1 movie this weekend,"  Lisa Bunnell, president of distribution at Focus Features, said in a statement to Variety.

Produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners and distributed by Focus Features, Come Play is a fleshed-out version of Jacob Chase's short film "Larry." Chase wrote and directed the feature-length adaptation, which deals with a supernatural entity (the unassumingly named Larry) that gains access to our world through an Autistic child's tablet.

The movie — which co-stars Gillian Jacobs (Community), John Gallagher Jr. (Westworld), Azhy Robertson (The Plot Against America), and Winslow Fegley (Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made) — currently holds a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. "A frightening feature debut from Jacob Chase, Come Play makes up for its uneven tone by adding real depth to its jarring scares," reads the critics' consensus.

Come Play

After two months of playing in theaters around the world, Christopher Nolan's Tenet brought in an extra $885,000 in its eighth weekend, according to Forbes. While the time-twisting blockbuster was performing a lot better in international markets, certain countries like France and Great Britain are planning to go into another lockdown, meaning that cinemas will close their doors once again. To date, Tenet has made $53.1 million in North America and $293.5 in foreign markets, for a grand global total of $347.1 million.

Warner Bros. still plans to roll out the film in 18 other markets. Per Variety, Warner chairman/CEO Anna Sarnoff and her team have been "very pleased" with Tenet's box-office performance.

"Christopher has [a] huge following, of course in the U.S., but his other movies have always over-indexed overseas," she said. “And if you remember back in June, July, August, the international markets were more open than the United States, so we had this amazing movie that really deserved to be on the big screen."

Sarnoff went on to describe pandemic-era sales as a "marathon versus a sprint," before adding, "So here we are – we’re getting close to $350 million in box office which is really good in a pandemic and over $50 million in the U.S."

Screenshot from Tenet

Come Play is the second horror film to be released in the last two weeks. Now in its sophomore outing, 20th Century Studios' The Empty Man fell 60% in terms of ticket sales, taking in an extra $561,000 for a domestic haul of $2.2 million. Based on the BOOM! Studios comic book of the same name, Empty Man bowed to $1.3 million last weekend.

Paramount provided a dual rollout for director Mark Tonderai's Spell, making $210,000 from 369 theaters around the country. It's unclear how much the horror-thriller made from PVOD rentals and/or purchases. Penned by Kurt Wimmer (Total Recall 2012), the Misery-esque movie involves a man (Omari Hardwick) trying to escape the clutches of a woman (Loretta Devine) who lives deep in Appalachia and practices dark magic. Another Paramount IP, Love and Monsters (it received the same dual distribution treatment) ventured its way to $95,000 for a 10-day cache of $741,000.

Elsewhere, Disney brought in some extra revenue with the re-release of three classics: Hocus Pocus ($456,000), The Nightmare Before Christmas ($386,000), and Monsters Inc. ($232,000).

Another re-release came in the form of John Carpenter's Halloween in order to celebrate the titular holiday this weekend. The beloved 1978 slasher hacked its way to $274,000 from 781 screens. Halloween's domestic gross now sits at "$47.434 million in North America ($160 million adjusted-for-inflation), or about what Halloween Kills might have earned on opening had it debuted on October 16 as initially intended," writes Forbes.