‘Halloween Ends’ starts strong in topping box office

Universal scarefest Halloween Ends scored a strong start this weekend, topping the North American box office with an estimated take of $41.3 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

The movie, ostensibly the last in a long string of profitable “Halloween” films, again stars Jamie Lee Curtis in a tale replete with throat-slashing, choking, fatal falls, and a mysterious masked sewer-dweller.

‘Halloween Ends’ stars Jamie Lee Curtis (front) and James Jude Courtney

Analysts had predicted a somewhat higher number: $50 million or so. But given the film’s simultaneous release on the Peacock streaming service and its production cost of just $30 million, its take was “excellent,” said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.

The weeks before Halloween always smile on horror films – and this weekend another gruesome film, Paramount’s Smile, placed second at $12.4 million. Sosie Bacon stars as a therapist whose grasp on reality is shaken by a horrifying event.

In third place for the Friday-through-Sunday period, down one spot from its release last weekend, was Sony’s live-action/computer-animated musical comedy Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, at $7.4 million. Javier Bardem, Shawn Mendes, and Constance Wu star.

Another Sony film, history-inspired The Woman King, held tight at fourth place, with $3.7 million in ticket sales. Viola Davis stars as the leader of an all-female army of African warriors.

And in fifth, dropping two spots, was 20th Century’s comedy thriller Amsterdam, at $2.9 million. It stars Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington.

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