By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business
Michael Myers made a killing at the box office, even though he was also streaming.
Universal Pictures’ “Halloween Kills” — the latest installment in the long running franchise — brought in an estimated $50.3 million at the North American box office this weekend. That number exceeded industry expectations, which had projected the film to make $35 million to $40 million this weekend.
The film’s opening was an important success for theaters because audiences could have just stayed home and watched the movie on NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock. The film debuted simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock at no extra charge to subscribers.
The opening for the film — which sees masked killer Michael Myers once again dice up the residents of Haddonfield, Illinois — is a steep drop compared to its predecessor, which opened to $76 million in 2018. However, 2018 and 2021 are very different landscapes for the theater industry considering there’s a pandemic going on and streaming is a mightier force than it was just a few years ago.
In the end, it’s not entirely a surprise that “Halloween Kills” did well this weekend. The film — the 12th in the series — is part of an iconic horror franchise.
Horror is also one of the most reliable brands at the box office. Audiences love to be scared in person as well as at home, so it appears that streaming the film on Peacock didn’t end up cannibalizing ticket sales.
Not even the film’s lackluster reviews (it currently holds a 39% score on Rotten Tomatoes) could stop the film from having a strong opening.
“‘Halloween Kills'” is just the latest example of how the pure escapist thrills of a good scare in the communal environment of the movie theater can generate huge dollars at the box office,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CNN Business.
As for Michael Myers, audiences have not seen the last of the demented murderer. He will return for the next film in the series, “Halloween Ends,” which is due out next year.
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