This weekend brought the release of the final (or supposedly final) “Halloween” franchise film — “Halloween Ends.” The franchise began with John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher film and has since churned out a number of sequels, all featuring the masked menace Michael Myers.
“Halloween Ends” stars Jamie Lee Curtis in her final performance as Laurie Strode, 44 years after debuting in the role. The anticipation was met this weekend, as the film opened to $41.2 million. This was slightly above my prediction of $37 million last week, delivering a solid opening for a horror film. That being said, its predecessor, 2021’s “Halloween Kills,” opened to $49 million last year, showcasing diminishing returns for the franchise.
While this is a decent opening all things considered, “Halloween Ends” still has a difficult road ahead of it. Last year, “Halloween Kills” had an abysmal 1.86x multiplier over its run, meaning it earned the majority of its money from opening weekend fare. Applying this multiplier to “Halloween Ends” means the film would only gross around $76.6 million domestically. With a reported budget as high as $30 million, the film likely needs to gross around $107 million worldwide to profit. Factoring in the domestic/international ratio of its opening weekend, about $75 million of that will need to be from domestic markets. Ultimately, this is going to be a tight race to the finish for “Halloween Ends.” The film needs to gross at least $75 million domestically, and is projected to earn $76.6 million. Though it is projected in the green right now, the margin is razor thin. Considering the film’s poor critical reception and “C+” CinemaScore, that 1.86x multiplier is very uncertain. This will be a story to watch in the coming weeks.
Placing second is “Smile” which grossed another $12.4 million this weekend. “Smile” is the box office story of the month, dropping only 33%, pushing its domestic total to $71.2 million. To put this into perspective, we mentioned the historic nature of “Halloween Ends” and the previous successes of the franchise. However, it is all but guaranteed that “Smile,” an original horror film, will outgross the final “Halloween” film domestically. Box office prognosticators and studio executives often talk about the extinction of the original film, but “Smile” is proving that narrative wrong. At this rate, “Smile” looks to gross over $110 million domestically, and is taking down horror royalty in the process. By the end of its run, “Smile” will likely deliver $100 million in profit to Paramount, making it one of the biggest box office successes of the year.
In third place this past weekend is the live-action/animated musical “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” which added $7.4 million this weekend. It only dropped 35%, which is pretty good for a film’s second weekend. However, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” has only grossed $22.7 million domestically. When you factor in its $50 million production budget, “Lyle” will not be eating up a profit. Family films have been faring better on video-on-demand and streaming, so perhaps the crocodile’s story is not over quite yet, but when it comes to the box office, “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” doesn’t look so good.
In fourth and fifth place are “The Woman King” and “Amsterdam,” grossing $3.7 million and $2.9 million respectively. “The Woman King” dropped only 29% in its 5th weekend, pushing its domestic total to $59.7 million. The film will likely end up around $75 million domestically. “Amsterdam” fell 55% in its second weekend, increasing its domestic gross to just south of $12 million. With an $80 million budget, “Amsterdam” is guaranteed to lose over $100 million, making it one of the biggest flops of the year.
Next weekend brings the release of two new films: “Black Adam” and “Ticket to Paradise.”
“Black Adam” is the latest DC superhero film, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the titular character. The Rock has been attached to the role for 15 years, making this a long time coming for him and the character. There are many questions surrounding this film, as it is the first DCEU project since 2021’s critically acclaimed but box-office maligned “The Suicide Squad.” “Black Adam” will be a test for the DCEU. I expect the film to open to around $67 million.
“Ticket to Paradise” is a romantic comedy starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. We discussed the recent struggles of the rom-com in our analysis of “Bros” a few weeks ago, which would make one think this film will falter at the box office. However, considering the two leads’ stardom, I feel this film is more comparable to “The Lost City” than to “Bros.” Ultimately, “Ticket to Paradise” will likely finish between those two aforementioned films and earn around $23 million in its opening weekend.
We shall see: Will “Black Adam” change the hierarchy of power on the charts or will “Ticket to Paradise” fly to unexpected heights?