The new Halloween film is on track to have the best opening weekend of any installment in the 40-year-old horror franchise, and it could be on its way to one of the best horror movie openings ever.
Early box office tracking for the film — directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green and Danny McBride as a direct sequel to John Carpenter's classic 1978 film — has it pulling in at least $40 million in its first three days, and possibly climbing as high as $50 million, Deadline reports. That will give it the best debut weekend in the Halloween franchise by quite a margin, placing it above Rob Zombie's 2007 remake of the original film and its $26.3 million opening.
Halloween is riding high on a wave of buzz generated by the positive reception it got at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered earlier this month to strong reviews and audience response. Market research shows it to be the top choice for moviegoers under 25 in its opening weekend, and with three weeks to go until the film's official release we can expect a marketing blitz to drum up even more interest. All of that, plus a release date less than two weeks before the titular holiday, seems like enough to secure the film's box office glory.
More impressive than its predicted place among fellow Halloween releases (many of which were released decades ago and therefore have automatically low box office numbers when unadjusted for inflation), though, is the new film's potential place among the best horror opening weekends of all time. The king of the genre right now is IT, which was released last year to an incredible $123.4 million opening, and while Halloween can't top that, it is in a position to possibly join the top five best horror openers ever. That list also includes World War Z ($66.4 million), Hannibal ($58 million), this year's The Nun ($53.8 million ), and Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.5 million). Right now, $50 million or more feels like a bit of a longshot for the film, but the tracking could climb, and even with current tracking, Halloween could easily top the debuts of The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, both of which are considered massive horror hits with numbers just over $40 million.
Again, it's important to note that this is early tracking, and that these numbers could rise or fall in the coming weeks depending on various developments, but the point still stands that the marketing and appeal of Halloween so far is working. Take a franchise that gets people nostalgic, bring back its original star in Jamie Lee Curtis, and get a couple of enthusiastic filmmakers to take on the franchise, and you've got something a certain kind of moviegoer just can't stay away from.
We'll find out just how many moviegoers couldn't resist Michael Myers' blade when Halloween hits theaters on Oct. 19.