Halloween Movie Review

The latest Halloween installment has so much reverence for the 1978 original that it has no use for the multiple sequels that followed. It ignores them and that includes the ones where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) appeared. She’s not Michael’s sister. She’s not living under an assumed name while working at a boarding school 20 years after his night of havoc. This Halloween ignores all of that and is a direct sequel from what happened four decades ago.

It cheats a little with that. As you’ll recall, John Carpenter’s classic concluded with Michael Myers apparently still on the loose. Here we learn that he was apprehended and has been in custody for 40 years. His psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) is long gone with a new doc (Haluk Bilginer) studying him. Michael is about to be transferred to a new facility on the night before his beloved title holiday (maybe picking a different day for that would have been wise). You can correctly guess whether that transfer is successful.

Laurie is still experiencing PTSD from her encounter in ‘78. She’s an alcoholic reclusive double divorcée estranged from daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and grandchild Allyson (Andi Matichak). Her off the beaten path home is a survivalist den. Karen strayed after her mother (wisely it turns out) taught her how to take down a monster. Michael’s breakout session provides the chance.

David Gordon Green directs and shares co-writing duties with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley. They sprinkle the screenplay with nods to part one both large and small. This reimagining recognizes that providing Michael a lot of back story isn’t needed, as the sequels eventually did to a ridiculous degree. He’s The Shape… an unstoppable machine who perhaps cannot be taken out. Nick Castle, who donned the infamous mask 40 years back, returns. Carpenter is around as well – providing the iconic music.

Halloween is effective in spurts. It takes some time to get its motor running while the original was lean and mean. Some of Michael’s kills are fine examples of blunt force creativity. Curtis clearly loves the role of Laurie and she has a few memorable moments as a now badass grandma. She’s not just an unwilling victim anymore. Laurie wants Michael to escape so she can finish him off and that’s a welcome touch.

Yet in all honesty, the 2018 edition never rises too much above the level of the first sequel in 1981. It continues the story from the greatest slasher ever in a serviceable, sometimes scary, and far more spotty way. Of course, I never expected this to match what came with Carpenter’s low-budget vision. Perhaps I hoped it would have a little more running time where it came closer.

**1/2 (out of four)

 

Box Office Predictions: November 9-11

Illumination Entertainment’s animated The Grinch looks to steal the box office crown from Bohemian Rhapsody after its killer opening this past weekend. We also have The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Overlord debuting and vying for some of the same audience members. You can find my detailed estimates on the trio of newbies right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/30/the-grinch-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/30/the-girl-in-the-spiders-web-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/30/overlord-box-office-prediction/

My mid 60s start for The Grinch easily places it in the top spot as it looks like to play well into the holiday season, even with plenty of family related competition coming soon.

Bohemian, despite very mixed reviews, played well with the masses and I don’t see it dropping more than mid 40s in its sophomore frame. The runner-up spot should be no problem for it.

As for the other newcomers, I have soured on Spider’s Web. My initial projection of $13.7 million has dwindled to $9.4 million. Depending on how Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (after a muted opening) drops in weekend #2, it could find itself in a battle for third place.

Despite positive critical notices, I’m skeptical that Overlord reaches its intended audience and I have it placing fifth with a sub double digits debut. If it opens much under that, it could be in danger of being sixth behind A Star Is Born. 

And with that, my top 6 projections for the weekend ahead:

1. The Grinch

Predicted Gross: $63.4 million

2. Bohemian Rhapsody

Predicted Gross: $29.8 million

3. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Predicted Gross: $10.2 million

4. The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Predicted Gross: $9.4 million

5. Overlord

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

6. A Star Is Born

Predicted Gross: $8 million

Box Office Results (November 2-4)

Bohemian Rhapsody rocked out to a tremendous start with $51 million, easily outpacing my $41.8 million forecast. The Freddie Mercury biopic managed to outdo October’s debut for A Star Is Born. It’s likely to continue to play well throughout the month.

Disney experienced a rare letdown with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms as it opened in second to an unremarkable $20.3 million. It did manage to just top my $19.4 million estimate. The film will hope for smallish declines in the coming weeks, but competition for families and little ones is significant in November.

Tyler Perry’s comedy Nobody’s Fool starring Tiffany Haddish had a so-so premiere in third with $13.7 million, in range with my $14.5 million projection. That’s roughly half of what Haddish’s September pic Night School accomplished out of the gate.

A Star Is Born was fourth with $11 million (I said $9.7 million) to brings its total to $165 million.

Now that its namesake holiday has passed, Halloween took a tumble in weekend #3 to fifth with $10.8 million (I was higher at $14.1 million). Nevertheless the $10 million production has amassed a fantastic $150 million thus far.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Overlord Box Office Prediction

Horror audiences have been treated to lots of zombies over the past few years on the big and small screen. Yet in Overlord, we get to witness the undead in World War II! That’s the basic premise of the J.J. Abrams produced genre pic out next weekend from director Julius Ray. The cast includes Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbaek, Jacob Anderson, and Bokeem Woodine.

Reviews for this exercise have been strong since it premiered at Fantastic Fest last month and it currently holds an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The opportunity for this to be a cult hit is very real, but its initial box office earnings might be just fair. The Girl in the Spider’s Web presents some direct competition while casual horror enthusiasts may have had their fill with Halloween. A decent comp could be both 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, which respectively made $10 million and $9.8 million for their starts. I’ll put this a bit under those.

Overlord opening weekend prediction: $8.2 million

For my The Grinch prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/30/the-grinch-box-office-prediction/

For my The Girl in the Spider’s Web prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/30/the-girl-in-the-spiders-web-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: November 2-4

Blogger’s Note (10/30/18): My estimate for Bohemian Rhapsody has increased from $31.8M to $41.8M

A flurry of box office activity greets November as three new releases are unveiled. We have the Queen musical extravaganza Bohemian Rhapsody, Disney’s fantasy adventure The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and Tyler Perry directed Tiffany Haddish comedy Nobody’s Fool. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/23/bohemian-rhapsody-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/24/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/24/nobodys-fool-box-office-prediction/

Rhapsody appears poised to, ahem, be the champion. How much it earns is very much in question. Forecasts have it anywhere between $25-$35 million. Reviews have been mixed, but the band’s fan base and rocking trailers have the potential to make the point moot. The film has the potential to over perform ($40 million is in the cards), but I’m estimating it ends up falling in the middle of current projections. **Note updated above.

As for The Nutcracker, it’s risky to underestimate the marketing power of the Mouse Factory. That said, buzz for this seems curiously muted. While it should have no problem nabbing the runner-up spot, I believe it will do so with less than $20 million.

Tiffany Haddish has had a pair of hits with Girls Trip last summer and Night School just a month ago. The latter had the benefit of featuring Kevin Hart. My prediction for Fool gives it about half of what School made out of the gate. That could put it in a battle for third place with the third weekend of current champ Halloween, with A Star Is Born rounding out the top five.

And with that, my top 5 take on as November comes in:

1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Predicted Gross: $41.8 million

2. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Predicted Gross: $19.4 million

3. Nobody’s Fool

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million

4. Halloween

Predicted Gross: $14.1 million

5. A Star Is Born

Predicted Gross: $9.7 million

Box Office Results (October 26-28)

As expected, Halloween easily topped the charts for the second weekend in a row with $31.4 million, a bit below my $35.4 million estimate. The latest pairing of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode has taken in $126 million. That already gives it the all-time franchise earner by far (the previous record was 2007’s remake at $58 million).

For the fourth weekend in a row, A Star Is Born held the #2 spot with $14 million, a tad higher than my take of $13.3 million. It’s up to $148 million with $200 million in its sights.

Venom was third with $10.6 million (I was right there at $10.5 million) for an overall tally of $187 million.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was fourth with $7.2 million (I said $6.9 million) for $38 million thus far.

None of the newcomers performed well. Hunter Killer managed just a fifth place showing with $6.6 million, not matching my $8.2 million prediction.

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s expanded nationally with middling results in 10th with $2.9 million (I said $3.6 million).

In 12th place was Johnny English Strikes Back with $1.6 million compared to my $1.3 million projection. Faith-based drama Indivisible was 13th with $1.5 million (I said $1 million).

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Bohemian Rhapsody Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (10/30/18): My estimate has been bumped from $31.8M to $41.8M

In the United States, famed British band Queen had two #1 hits with “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Next weekend, a biopic of its legendary lead singer Freddie Mercury is likely to top box office charts when Bohemian Rhapsody debuts. Named after one of their signature tunes (used memorably in 1992’s Wayne’s World), Rami Malek stars as Mercury. The supporting cast includes Lucy Boynton, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello, and Wayne Campbell himself – Mike Myers. The film shares credit for its directors, as original filmmaker Bryan Singer was replaced well into the shooting schedule with Dexter Fletcher. That move attracted plenty of publicity.

With its well-received and rocking trailers, Rhapsody appears poised to knock off Michael Myers from #1 when it opens. It certainly has breakout potential due to familiarity with the band, but it could also leg out well if it achieves positive audience word-of-mouth. Reviews will be out shortly, but early buzz suggests the picture is a bit of a mixed bag while Malek’s portrayal of Mercury could generate Oscar attention.

I’ll say this starts its cinematic journey in the high 30s to low 40s range.

Bohemian Rhapsody opening weekend prediction: $41.8M million

For my The Nutcracker and the Four Realms prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/24/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms-box-office-prediction/

For my Nobody’s Fool prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/24/nobodys-fool-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: October 26-28

Blogger’s Note (10/25/18): On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my Hunter Killer estimate from $10.2 million to $8.2 million

Jamie Lee Curtis and her long running nemesis Michael Myers should have no trouble topping the box office charts once again as a trio of newcomers enter the marketplace. They are the Gerard Butler action thriller Hunter Killer, Pure Flix drama Indivisible, and Rowan Atkinson comedy sequel Johnny English Strikes Again. You can peruse my individual prediction posts on them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/16/hunter-killer-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/22/indivisible-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/17/johnny-english-strikes-again-box-office-prediction/

Let’s deal with the low hanging fruit first. I don’t expect Indivisible or English to come anywhere near the top 5 with respective estimates of $1 million and $1.3 million.

We also have Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s expanding into wide release after a four screen engagement this past weekend. A theater count will be key here, but if it gets 1000 screens I’ll say it hits around $3.6 million (this could rise or fall depending on volume).

Hunter Killer is a trickier proposition. It doesn’t seem to be generating much buzz, but recent Butler pics such as Geostorm and Den of Thieves have both managed to go slightly above projections. It’s tempting to say Killer won’t do double digits, but I’m putting it just over that for what would be a fourth place showing (though it could go higher).

Speaking of killers, Michael Myers and his Halloween sequel slashed its way to the second largest October opening of all time (behind Venom) and second highest horror premiere ever (behind It). I’ll say it dips around 53% for the weekend.

A Star Is Born and Venom seem poised to keep their 2-3 positions with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween rounding out the top five.

And with that, the top 5 estimates for the weekend ahead:

1. Halloween

Predicted Gross: $35.4 million

2. A Star Is Born

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million

3. Venom

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million

4. Hunter Killer

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

5. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million

Box Office Results (October 19-21)

As mentioned, Halloween achieved near record-setting status this weekend with a fantastic $76.2 million start, right in line with my $75.4 million prediction. It easily soared above the previous franchise record with $50 million to spare. That mark was held by Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake at $26 million.

A Star Is Born kept the runner-up spot for the third weekend with $19 million (I said $19.2 million) to bring its earnings to $126 million.

After two weeks on top, Venom dipped to third place with $18 million (I was a tad lower at $16.9 million) for a three-week tally of $171 million.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was fourth with $9.7 million (I said $9.4 million) for a two-week gross of $28 million.

First Man continued its disappointing returns in fifth with $8.3 million – under my $10 million take. In two weeks, it’s earned an unimpressive $29 million.

Critically acclaimed The Hate U Give expanded wide with a solid $7.6 million for sixth place, getting past my $6.7 million estimate.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Hunter Killer Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (10/25/18): On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my estimate down from $10.2 million to $8.2 million

Gerard Butler headlines the action thriller Hunter Killer next weekend alongside Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and Toby Stephens. The submarine set pic comes out in the Halloween frame – which is typically a slow one at the box office. It will, at best, come in second to sophomore weekend for Halloween.

While there doesn’t seem to be much buzz for it, Butler has seen his recent efforts make a little more than anticipated. This includes Den of Thieves from earlier this year, which took in over $15 million. Even last year’s costly flop Geostorm still managed to make nearly $14 million.

I don’t see that kind of performance here, but I do think Killer could top double digits. On the other hand, it could debut on pace with something like Operation Finale from August. That action thriller didn’t even make $8 million over the long Labor Day frame.

This could be a bit high, but I’ve learned to spot Butler a couple million lately. I’ll say a gross between $10-$11 million is the likely scenario.

Hunter Killer opening weekend prediction: $8.2 million

For my Johnny English Strikes Again prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/17/johnny-english-strikes-again-box-office-prediction/

For my Indivisible prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/22/indivisible-box-office-prediction/