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'Halloween Kills' slays box office projections with $50+ million for franchise's second-biggest U.S. debut
Never underestimate the allure of Haddonfield and its iconic boogeyman on the big screen. Even with a dual release strategy that placed the film in theaters and on Peacock at the same time, Universal and Blumhouse's Halloween Kills... well, killed (our apologies) at the domestic box office with $50.3 million.
Not only is that figure above initial projections, it's also the second-biggest weekend opening in the franchise's 40-year history just after the 2018 reboot, which premiered to $76 million across its first three days in theaters. Factoring in the success of Kills, the entire Halloween series has now made over $5 billion in North American ticket sales alone.
"Universal has a storied horror movie tradition and their collaboration with Blumhouse has been incredibly successful. A perfect partnership!" Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE.
Internationally, the slasher sequel opened in 20 markets to $5.4 million, boosting the worldwide opening gross to nearly $56 million. Even in the midst of the lingering pandemic, scaring people has never been so lucrative. Since March of 2020 (when the world first went into lockdown as a direct result of the COVID-19 health crisis), the horror genre has brought in over $500 million domestically.
"The amazing performance of Halloween Kills in theaters — despite being available at home — not only shows the power of the Halloween brand, but the undeniable perfection of the in-theater experience when viewing a film from the horror genre," Dergarabedian continues. "The film also benefitted from being right in the sweet spot of a modest runtime and having innate appeal to younger fans for whom horror movies are like cinematic catnip. Let's also not forget that Blumhouse has done an incredible job as the custodian of horror in the modern era and that the casting of Jamie Lee Curtis ... only added to the appeal of this perfectly-concocted horror movie confection."
Picking up the same night as its 2018 predecessor, Halloween Kills finds Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis); her daughter, Karen (Judy Greer); and granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) on the way to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, confident that Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) will burn to death in Laurie's home. No such luck, though, because the mask-wearing killer is inadvertantly saved by a brigade of firefighters who pay the ultimate price for their noble service.
With Haddonfield's stab-happy psycopath back on his bloody rampage, Tommy Doyle (The Breakfast Club's Anthony Michael Hall) and Lonnie Elam (The Haunting of Hill House's Robert Longstreet) — two characters featured in John Carpenter's 1978 original — lead an angry mob on a quest to dispose of the Shape once and for all.
All the fear and anger over Michael's re-appearance begins to spiral out of control, resulting in the creation of more than just one monster before the night is through. "The [2018 movie] was more about Laurie's life of isolation after Michael and her attempts at revenge," returning director David Gordon Green remarked in July of 2020. "It was personal. This is more about the unraveling of a community into chaos. It's about how fear spreads virally."
Halloween Kills was co-written by reboot masterminds, Gordon Green and Danny McBride, who were joined for this second outing by Scott Teems (writer behind the upcoming Firestarter remake at Blumhouse).
A third entry titled Halloween Ends will close out the current trilogy next October. Speaking with Collider, Gordon Green revealed that Ends, which is slated to kick off production in early 2022, will jump four years into the future.
(Universal Pictures, Peacock & SYFY WIRE are all owned by NBCUniversal)