Weekend Forecast: ‘Halloween’ Tracking to Slash the Box Office with $70M+ Debut

October’s record run continues this weekend with one of the most anticipated horror films in years: Halloween.

Industry-wide traditional tracking has followed in line with our initial long range report two months ago, citing expectations of a debut north of $60 million. Our average models had increased to $65 million in recent weeks, with an eye toward outperforming that figure as the buzz wave has continued to build.

For example, Fandango reports that advance ticket sales for Halloween have already surpassed The Nun‘s total sales generated through Thursday before its opening. We bullishly think Venom‘s recent October record debut of $80.3 million could be within reach based on current momentum and an expectation of strong walk-up sales, with a ceiling perhaps approaching the nine-digit level — although that’s certainly on the more optimistic end of a widening forecast range. Conversely, Universal expects north of $50 million.

Ignoring the continuity of every sequel that followed John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 film gives this new installment a relatively blank slate for younger audiences not familiar with Michael Myers lore, but nostalgia from older fans is also a major driver in buzz as opening weekend approaches — due in part to the return of star Jamie Lee Curtis. Very positive reviews are adding to the hype, and opening less than two weeks before the haunted holiday itself makes for a perfect blend of synergy.

As if those factors aren’t enough, the horror genre has a proclivity for beating expectations at the box office in recent years — 2018 being no exception thanks to A Quiet Place and The Nun, each of which topped $50 million on opening weekend. They followed last fall’s It, which obliterated forecasts and records with its $123.4 million debut. The genre has benefited from strong appeal to young female audiences and consistent quality in the eyes of both critics and audiences, something that’s expected to be the case for the newest Halloween.

On the social media front, Boxoffice.com’s Twitter tracking has captured a level of conversation that far outpaces The Nun and Quiet Place before release and only trailed It by 14 percent in mentions on Tuesday. Meanwhile, our Trailer Impact research indicates 49 percent of surveyed audiences are “Definitely Interested” in the film compared to Nun‘s 40 percent at the same point before opening. Halloween‘s Average Positive Interest scored 76 percent versus Nun‘s 64 percent.

Genre Comps

For perspective, the all-time record for the slasher sub-genre is held by 2009’s reboot of Friday the 13th ($40.6 million). Adjusted for inflation, however, Scream 2 holds the crown with $65.6 million (adjusted for 2018 prices from 1997’s $32.9 million original figure).

Of course, It holds the R-rated horror record — but The Nun claimed second last month with its $53.8 million start. Prior to those films, no R-rated horror film had sold enough tickets to equal or exceed Scream 2‘s $65.6 million adjusted opening except for 1994’s Interview with the Vampire ($79.6 million adjusted / $36.4 million original) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula ($67.2 million adjusted / $30.5 million original) in 1992.

Within the Halloween franchise itself, 2007’s remake holds the non-adjusted title with $26.4 million, but 1998’s Halloween: H20 earned $31.5 million adjusted for inflation ($16.2 million originally). With everything seemingly firing on all cylinders, this Halloween is poised to blow past those figures with deep, iconic cultural roots and palpable excitement from both fans and mainstream audiences.

Holdovers

In what should be another tight race, Venom and A Star Is Born will be fighting for runner-up this weekend as First Man hopes to display early legs and Goosebumps 2 continues to serve as the primary family-friendly holiday title. Meanwhile, The Hate U Give expands into wide release at an estimated 2,300 locations as it looks to perform well just outside the top five on the heels of strong early word of mouth.

Top 10 vs. Last Year

Boxoffice estimates this weekend’s top ten films will generate around $160 million. That would represent a 109 percent increase from the same frame last year when Boo 2! A Madea Halloween was the only standout among five openers on a slow $76.4 million top ten weekend.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 21 % Change from Last Wknd
Halloween (2018) Universal $80,000,000 $80,000,000 NEW
A Star Is Born Warner Bros. $19,300,000 $126,400,000 -32%
Venom Sony / Columbia $18,900,000 $173,300,000 -46%
First Man Universal $10,300,000 $31,900,000 -36%
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Sony / Columbia $10,000,000 $28,800,000 -37%
The Hate U Give Fox $6,900,000 $10,000,000 +297%

Contact us for information about subscribing to Boxoffice.com’s suite of forecasting and data services.

Alex Edghill contributed to this report

Shawn Robbins

21 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Multiplex37 October 17, 2018

    Very detailed analysis this week, fellas! Big Mem is impressed.

    Impressed by how far off you are. This is a tired franchise and methinks Mr. Myers’ big return will be a big flop. 50mm is the ceiling. Trust me. I’ve got the inside scoop!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jordana October 17, 2018

      You failed already thinking it will flop by opening up with $50m on a $10m budget. Someone needs to go back to school and learn math. This could have opened with $20m and still be a solid hit. Someone is definitely a Halloween hater. Its ok, your money wont be missed and the franchise doesn’t need your help. Stay home and knit all weekend.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Fred October 17, 2018

      The only thing you have an inside scoop on is the crack rock which you must be smoking if you think Halloween. At this point anyone with a brain knows Halloween is destined to be a hit, even if your not planning on see it. Lmao at you salty ass trolls.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Harrison Starzec October 17, 2018

      You have the inside scoop? On what, time travel?

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Damon October 17, 2018

      50 million opening for a sequel to a horror movie from 1978 with an actress who hasn’t had a hit in years would be considered a hit by all standards. That being said I’m confident it will make more than that.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Gus October 17, 2018

      Isn’t it tiresome, being a troll? Nobody thinks you’re amusing.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Jacen October 18, 2018

        Well, he was sort of amusing when he was making overestimated predictions for “why does this even exist” movies that obviously were going to fail. Sort of. But yeah, he’s gotten tiresome. I guess he got no love at Deadline and Variety (and Hollywood Reporter has shut down the comments section) so Pro is the only place left.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Parzival1608 October 17, 2018

      The movie cost 10M to make so a debut around 50M would be absolutely fantastic. Even if it starts with 25M and ends with 50M domestic would be superb.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Poopyhead Jerry October 18, 2018

      Inside scoop? What, did you ask every single person in the country what movie they’re seeing this weekend?

      Reply
    • Avatar
      manofbronze October 18, 2018

      someone clearly creates his/her own delusions.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      The Prognosticator October 18, 2018

      I totally agree. Not a chance for $70m. I don’t get the hype – this is just another installment of bad sequels to the original. Carpenter isn’t the director, he isn’t the writer, and the three (it’s always a good sign when you have three credited writers) writers are no-names with no solid credits (no, Danny McBride is not a writer of note), as is the director who has no previous genre experience. So what if Jamie Lee Curtis is in it? She was in the infelicitously titled “H20” and “Halloween Resurrection” – both also billed as the “final” installment of the franchise. Did either open to $70m? I don’t get how this film managed to generate so much momentum. If they get $50m (which is possible), they should thank their lucky stars. But $70m? No way.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Jacen October 19, 2018

      Well, BigMem, the early reports are in: Halloween getting at least 75mil. So you were completely wrong and do not have the inside scoop. Every time you post, it’s wildly wrong. And it’s never funny, so irony I clearly not your goal.

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Far October 17, 2018

    Halloween will open big and Im definitely seeing it this weekend with the wife. Almost everyone I know at my company has been talking about it the past 2-3 weeks, which is crazy considering its a horror flick and not a marvel superhero movie. Im hoping for a debut over $100 million, which would be insane for that franchise, but its definitely got the reviews to back it up. So glad they got John Carpenter back to score the movie and be a consultant on it as it definitely shows in the trailers.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Fred October 17, 2018

      I’m not sure Halloween will be able to hit $100 million this weekend, but I wouldn’t totally count it out from that, it’s possible. Especially if it plays in a similar fashion as “IT” did last year. I’m thinking it will open somewhere between $65-$85m this weekend but it’s possible it can open even higher than that.

      Reply
  3. Avatar
    Greg October 18, 2018

    As a comparison, what was It originally projected to do on opening weekend?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Brad October 18, 2018

      40-50

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Kevster October 18, 2018

        The first post on the long range tracking chart was $60m.

        pro.boxofficecom/weekend-forecast-halloween/

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Greg October 18, 2018

          Ha! Sorry I wasn’t clear…I meant, what was the 2017 movie “It” forecast for? Certainly, it wasn’t $123 million, was it?

          Reply
          • Avatar
            RussVB October 18, 2018

            My memory is that expectations for IT were climbing fast as the opening approached. Mojo’s pre-weekend forecast is one that’s still easy to find, 85 M.

          • Avatar
            Kevster October 18, 2018

            It was originally placed as $40m here.

            pro.boxofficecom/long-range-forecast-home/

  4. Avatar
    Andy Z October 18, 2018

    It will be interesting to see if Halloween overperforms. Last year during the week before IT’s release it was also being forcecasted around 70-80m..

    Reply

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