Halloween headed for record setting $70 million box office debut this weekend

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Oct 19, 2018, 11:35 AM EDT (Updated)

Halloween is finally upon us, and it's about to take a big slice out of the box office. David Gorden Green's much-anticipated sequel to the 1978 classic has been riding a wave of buzz ever since its first footage debuted earlier this year, and that only intensified after a positive reception at the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest in recent weeks.

Now the film has landed in North American movie theaters, and it's set for a box-office haul that's not just a franchise best, but also possibly the best debut for any film opening in the lead-up to the title holiday.

According to The Hollywood ReporterHalloween is set to take in upwards of $70 million this weekend, giving it the best horror opening since IT arrived with more than $120 million a little more than a year ago. The strong buzz plus the perfect seasonal timing mean the film is set to likely do much better than Universal Pictures' own $50 million projection, easily restoring the franchise to box-office glory after years of silence.

The new film, directed by Green and produced by horror powerhouse Jason Blum, had plenty going for it from the start, even beyond the nostalgic appeal of the franchise and its central villain, Michael Myers. Perhaps its greatest asset in that department was the very public return of star Jamie Lee Curtis, who not only took a leading role in the saga for the first time in 20 years but also hasn't been shy about singing the praises of the film's story in interviews ever since San Diego Comic-Con over the summer. Then there's the return of creator John Carpenter, who Blum and Green won over and brought into the fold not just as a consultant, but also as a composer. The dual returns of the Scream Queen and the Horror Master meant faithful fans also sat up and paid attention, and the strong critical reception sealed the deal.

So we know Halloween is going to be a success after being produced on a budget of around $10 million. The only question now is just how big a success. Venom is the current October box-office champion thanks to its own massive opening earlier this month, but Halloween will likely own the back half of the month as we headed for trick or treating. How high can it climb?