Halloween Ends Box Office Prediction

The culmination of this iteration of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) battling  Michael Myers arrives on October 14th with Halloween Ends. Said to be Curtis’s final appearance in the 44-year-old franchise (though I’m sure Myers will manage to return in some form), David Gordon Green is back directing along with cowriter Danny McBride. It comes a year after Halloween Kills and four years behind Halloween which began the trilogy. It’s the 13th overall entry in the series overall. Costars include James Jude Courtney and OG Nick Castle doubling up again as the iconic slasher, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, and Kyle Richards.

2018’s Halloween was a juggernaut with a $76 million opening and $159 million eventual domestic haul. Kills still killed, but to a lesser degree with a $49 million start and $92 million overall take. Like its predecessor, Ends will be simultaneously available on Peacock.

In addition to the streaming option that could siphon away viewers, horror fans have had plenty to enjoy lately (Barbarian and Smile for example). That said, there’s obviously a built-in base here.

I do expect diminishing returns though not close to the disparity between 2018 and 2021. High 30s to low 40s is where I see it and considering the reported $20 million budget, that’s a profitable cut for Universal.

Halloween Ends opening weekend prediction: $40.7 million

Smile Review

Parker Finn’s Smile is essentially The Ring if that distorted VHS tape were replaced with a distorted facial expression. As these jump scare heavy horror pics go, this one usually hits the right notes (including with its sound design).

Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) is a psychologist working at a busy mental ward. She makes the acquaintance of Laura (Caitlin Stasey), who witnessed her professor commit suicide. Ever since then, she’s been traumatized by an unseen being. Laura is a basket case until… she’s not and a creepy grin emerges. Those who’ve witnessed the trailer know that bloodshed follows.

What also follows (it follows… so to speak) is an evil spirit possibly latching onto the doctor and no one believing her. This includes her fiancee (Jessie T. Usher), an ex boyfriend who’s a cop (Kyle Gallner), and her sister (Gillian Zinser). Their skepticism is understandable as a family tragedy when Rose was 10 years old might explain her bizarre behavior.

Besides the mentions of It Follows and The Ring, Finn’s debut (he wrote it too) borrows plenty from earlier genre pieces. While originality isn’t its strong suit, there are a few legitimately hair raising instances. There’s one session with Rose’s therapist that’s far scarier than the bill.

Despite a few unnecessary shots that seem inspired by Inception, Finn seems like a filmmaker to keep an eye on. Bacon (daughter of Kevin and Kyra Sedgwick) is given a few good moments of genuinely convincing terror. This is genre work executed well as these characters smile though their arteries are bursting.

*** (out of four)

October 7-9 Box Office Predictions

Family friendly Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile hopes to make its mark on the charts and easily win the weekend as the star studded Amsterdam also debuts. My detailed prediction posts on the newcomers can be found here:

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Box Office Prediction

Amsterdam Box Office Prediction

We’ve had about a two month break between movies geared toward kids and that should help Lyle achieve a low 20s start. It’s unlikely to have any trouble hitting the #1 spot.

Despite the considerable ensemble of Oscar winners and nominees, David O. Russell’s first feature in seven years is garnering mostly mediocre reviews from critics. The marketing campaign has been so-so in my view. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and company could elevate this to low double digits or even teens. However, I’m estimating it’ll flop in high single digits.

That would put it in third behind the sophomore frame of Smile. The horror pic got off to an impressive debut (more on that below) and I’ll say the second weekend dip might be in the low to mid 40s.

Holdovers The Woman King and Don’t Worry Darling should round out the top five. Bros had a very disappointing opening (more on that below too), but it did nab an A Cinemascore grade. If it manages a smallish decline, it might give Darling a run for its money in the five spot.

Here’s how I see it shaking out:

1. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Predicted Gross: $21.6 million

2. Smile

Predicted Gross: $12.9 million

3. Amsterdam

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $4.7 million

5. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

6. Bros

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (September 30-October 2)

Paramount is undoubtedly doing just what the title says as Smile opened widely to a pleasing $22.6 million. That’s ahead of my $18.7 million projection. The B- Cinemascore is actually fairly decent for a horror flick and it could play well next weekend before Halloween Ends arrives the following one.

Don’t Worry Darling cratered in weekend #2 with $6.8 million, not matching my $8 million call. Even with the 65% plummet, it’s nearly managed to outgross its budget domestically in just 10 days with $32 million (price tag was reportedly $35 million).

The Woman King was third and it also made $6.8 million to bring its three-week take to $46 million. I forecasted slightly more at $7.4 million.

The Avatar re-release was fourth with $5 million (I was more generous at $6.6 million) as the 2009 juggernaut now has $779 million in the bank.

Bros with Billy Eichner, billed as the first wide release LGBTQ rom com from a major studio, was a massive disappointment. In fifth place with only $4.8 million, it came nowhere near my $12.1 million prediction. You can bet the marketing department at Universal is furiously second guessing themselves today, but it struggled mightily to find an audience beyond coastal metro areas. That aforementioned A Cinemascore does indicate it could find plenty of fans eventually… just not in multiplexes.

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

September 30-October 2 Box Office Predictions

Horror pic Smile and Bros, the first gay rom com from a major studio, look to lead the end of September/early October box office. Both are getting solid notices with respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of 79% and 95%. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:

Smile Box Office Prediction

Bros Box Office Prediction

Smile has had a shrewd marketing campaign with a creepy teaser trailer that played in front Top Gun: Maverick all summer (so a lot of moviegoers saw it). My mid to high teens projection should put it in first place.

That’s unless Bros with Billy Eichner exceeds forecasts. However, my low teens estimate would give it runner-up status. I would not be surprised if it legs out well in subsequent weekends (I suspect word-of-mouth will be strong). **Speaking of forecasts, as of this writing, it remains to be seen if Hurricane Ian could negatively impact the weekend ahead.

With a B- Cinemascore, current champ Don’t Worry Darling could be headed towards a hefty sophomore drop after its solid premiere (more on that below). A mid to high 50s fall is possible. It should hold the 3 spot though The Woman King could give it a run for its money.

King and the Avatar re-release should fill out the rest of the top five and here’s how I envision it panning out:

1. Smile

Predicted Gross: $18.7 million

2. Bros

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

3. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $8 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million

5. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million

Box Office Results (September 23-25)

Don’t Worry Darling, the much publicized thriller from Olivia Wilde and starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, started out strong and diminished throughout the weekend. Taking in $19.3 million, it just outdid my $18.9 million projection. It looked like $20 million plus was likely with a $3 million Thursday night start until it dwindled. With a reported $35 million budget, it’s a pleasing debut regardless.

The Woman King fell to second with $11 million, under my $13.2 million take. The acclaimed historical epic with Viola Davis has made $36 million in its first ten days.

Three months ahead of its long in development sequel, James Cameron’s Avatar was re-released and earned $10.5 million for third (surging beyond my $8.5 million projection). The fourth highest grossing domestic earner of all time is now at $771 million with that extra coin.

Barbarian continued its meager declines with a fourth place showing of $4.8 million. I was right on target with $4.9 million as the critically appreciated horror flick has made $28 million.

See How They Run was fifth in its sophomore outing and I incorrectly had it outside of the quintet. With $1.9 million, the weak two-week tally is $6 million.

Pearl was sixth as it also made $1.9 million. My guess? $1.9 million! Like Run, $6 million is its the total.

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

Bros Box Office Prediction

Billing itself as the first gay rom com from a major studio and featuring an all LGBTQ+ main cast, Universal Pictures releases Bros on September 30th. Nicholas Stoller (director of successful comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors) is behind the camera with Judd Apatow producing. Billy Eichner of Billy on the Street fame stars alongside Luke Macfarlane. The supporting cast includes Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Diaz, Guy Branum, Amanda Bearse, Jim Rash, Dot-Marie Jones, Bowen Yang, Harvey Fierstein, and Debra Messing.

While this particular humorous tale is making some history, it’s rare nowadays to find any comedy getting a wide release (at least one that’s not animated or filled with action). Bros premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month to glowing reviews. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 94%.

Prognosticators have the range here at $10-15 million. That sounds reasonable and I suspect it’ll start out at the middle of that spectrum. It’ll likely have to settle for a second place showing behind horror pic Smile. However, I could see this legging out well when word-of-mouth gets out. As an aside, I saw Bros at TIFF and can confirm it should be quite the crowdpleaser.

Bros opening weekend prediction: $12.1 million

For my Smile prediction, click here:

Smile Box Office Prediction

Smile Box Office Prediction

Paramount Pictures is hoping that horror fans are ready to Smile on September 30th. The supernatural fright fest marks the directorial debut of Parker Finn with a cast including Sosie Bacon (daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick), Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn, and Rob Morgan.

This is a genre that’s been well served in September with Barbarian and Pearl (and The Invitation in late August). The trend will continue with Halloweens Ends in mid-October. There could be a bit of fatigue, but Smile may have a feather in its cap. The mysterious and creepy teaser spot played all summer long in front of a little film called Top Gun: Maverick… the one that’s made over $700 million domestically.

A premiere in the $20 million range is certainly possible. However, I’ll say high teens is where this lands.

Smile opening weekend prediction: $18.7 million

For my Bros prediction, click here:

Bros Box Office Prediction

Barbarian Box Office Prediction

The fall movie season kicks off in horrific fashion with Barbarian, Zach Cregger’s directorial debut which premiered at Comic-Con in July to solid buzz. Whether its festival reaction translates to positive box office numbers is questionable.

Georgina Campbell, Bill Skargard (who’s had huge success in the genre with It and its sequel), and Justin Long star in a pic whose plot is being kept rather secretive. Early word-of-mouth suggests horror fans might be best served by entering this one cold.

September is not looking overly encouraging for blockbuster possibilities. It is, however, filled with scary flicks. Barbarian starts the trend with Pearl out a week later and Smile arriving at month’s end. Barbarian needs that chatter from its screenings to seep into the mainstream and I’m not sure it has. One comp could be Malignant, which premiered on the same post Labor Day weekend last year. It made just over $5 million though it was simultaneously streaming on HBO Max.

This should benefit a little from being theatrical only. I’ll say Barbarian will be lucky to make close to double digits, but may to settle for $6-8 million.

Barbarian opening weekend prediction: $7.1 million