Weekend BO Report: ‘Halloween’ Kills It With The Third Biggest Horror Opening Ever At $76m

Written by Dapo Olowu

This weekend saw the newest film in the ‘Halloween‘ franchise (named – get this – ‘Halloween’) come within $4m of breaking ‘Venom‘s recent October opening record, leaving it just a ‘Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero‘ away from Box Office history. This, of course, shouldn’t take away from the remarkable achievement of it grossing $76.2m, which makes it the 3rd biggest horror opening of all time behind ‘It’ and ‘I Am Legend

How did this happen? Was it the ‘It‘-like nostalgia factor? Another masterstroke in production from Blumhouse? A combination of these factors plus more? Its success after just 3 days trumps what most horrors make in their lifetimes, and its $10m budget ensures profitability and a brighter future for a franchise with nearly a dozen iterations (now outside the official story) before its latest release.

The film saw Jamie Lee Curtis return as Laurie Strode, squaring off against recent prison-escapee and mass-murderer Michael Myers. Forty years after his Halloween killing spree of 1978, Myers (played by Nick Castle) is back to finish off Strode, who managed to escape his clutches. Released in just 23 countries abroad so far in its staggered international release, the film grossed around $14m, including $3.6m from the U.K. and Ireland.

Keeping its October record, but moving down to third in the Box Office charts this weekend was ‘Venom’, earning $18m against ‘A Star is Born’s $19.1m. ‘Venom’ is now just $40m off of reaching $500m worldwide, and has earned $171.1m stateside. The critically-acclaimed ‘A Star is Born’, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring Lady Gaga, has reached a $200m global gross, with $126.1m coming from the U.S.

It’s less happy reading for Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle, as ‘First Man’ continues to disappoint. Their second film together after ‘La La Land’, which made an outstanding $446.1m worldwide, brought in just $8.3m this weekend for a domestic total of $29.8m. A finish around $50m is likely for the film which cost $59m – the first wide-release commercial flop of Chazelle’s directing career.    

Opening wide this weekend was 20th Century Fox’s ‘The Hate U Give’, starring Amanda Stenberg and directed by George Tillman Jr. It earned a solid $7.6m from 2,300 cinemas, opening up from 250 last week. The YA crime drama has received rave reviews from critics, and became only the 6th film of the year to get the highest score possible (A+) on Cinemascore.

Made on a $23m budget, ‘The Hate U Give’ is an adaptation of a 2017 best-selling book and offers a socially-relevant critique into race relations in the U.S. Although this may harm it’s international appeal (at the time of this article’s publication, the film has only been released domestically), producers at Fox will hope that a strong word of mouth will aid its stateside growth.

Rounding off the top ten is the surprise package ‘The Old Man & The Gun’, Robert Redford’s last film as an actor before retirement. In a career that’s spanned close to 60 years, the Oscar-winning director (and nominated actor)’s last hurrah grossed $2.1m from only 800 cinemas, for a 4th weekend total of $4.2m.

So close, yet so far for ‘Halloween’. With its opening, who will end on the most domestically between that and ‘Venom’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth

Written by Rhys Bowen-Jones

Drew Goddard is fast-becoming a household name. Having been on the scene for the last 10 or so years, he now has two directorial efforts under his belt, 2012’s cult hit horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods and now this, a neo-noir mystery thriller with an excellent cast to support it. As with Cabin, El Royale manages to put an enjoyable spin on a classic genre with an impressively surprising and twisty tale of violence and intrigue.

The El Royale Hotel exists on the state line between California and Nevada. A former hot spot for celebrities, it has seen better days and it finds itself as a late night refuge for a band of lovable misfits from across the land. As the hotel guests arrive, the hotel’s secrets reveal itself alongside the hidden pasts of its new inhabitants.

A film such as this – a dialogue-heavy mystery that relies as much on intrigue as it does on action – needs an onboard cast, and Goddard struck gold with those at his disposal. You have a powerhouse like Jeff Bridges, alongside a relative newcomer like Cynthia Erivo, backed up by a terrific actor who is due a leap into the Hollywood big leagues by now in Jon Hamm. That’s not even mentioning Chris Hemsworth in an against-type villain role and Dakota Johnson, one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars. Everyone engages fully with their character, and it compliments the film beautifully.

In fact, its characters are the film’s strongest suit in my book. Every conversation is fascinating because it’s delivered with panache and passion, Jeff Bridges’ mysterious priest Daniel Flynn is an easy example of this. He takes a shine to Erivo’s equally mysterious (there’s a lot of mystery going on here, as is becoming clear) Darlene Sweet, a struggling singer from Indiana. The two have a conversation over pie about where they’ve come from and where they go is extremely engaging; Bridges, in particular, is terrific in this scene, managing to make me laugh and then pull at my heartstrings only a few lines of dialogue later. El Royale does an excellent job balancing these conversations with action, and this scene is the first example of this; you won’t see the climax of this scene coming and it made me react in a more visceral way than I would have done to a horror jump scare.

I could go on and on about the performances in this film. Jon Hamm impresses me every time I see him, and here it’s no exception. He starts off as Don Draper from Mad Men but with the irritating smarm cranked up to 100, but below the surface, he’s far more charming and genuinely funny than you first think. Dakota Johnson is effortlessly charming despite her villainous nature, pulling you in with her demeanour before stabbing you in the back. Chris Hemsworth, like I said earlier, goes against type as the film’s villain, and he absolutely convinced me that he would have young women fawning over him to do his every bidding. I quite liked Hemsworth here, I saw a different side of him that hasn’t been in his filmography thus far, hopefully, this signals the start of Hemsworth going for more alternative roles.

The film’s MVP is surely Cynthia Erivo though, given her relative lack of experience, but her ability to dominate a scene is unrivalled here. There are multiple scenes that showcase not only her acting skills but her singing ability too. Goddard puts her West End and Broadway background to terrific use. What could seem unnecessary is completely captivating because of how good a singer she is. I could listen to her sing for hours, and I’m honestly furious her versions of classic songs aren’t on the soundtrack.

There is so much good to say about the film that I haven’t even touched on yet. El Royale has extremely pretty visuals, gorgeous neon and bright colours surround the slightly garish hotel décor but it works thanks to its clever lighting, particular as fire comes into play at nightfall. Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey is known for his visually compelling style given his experiences on 2014’s Godzilla and 2012’s Avengers Assemble, and it’s put to great use here, managing to make a film set completely within a hotel seem massive at times, sprawling through the dark corridors behind the scenes.

Goddard also excels on both a writing and directing level, for me. As already mentioned, his dialogue is completely engaging, but he has crafted a very delicate story that had to be told in a certain way. Using an easy framing structure of the characters’ rooms split up into chapters, he’s able to delve into the character and develop the story simultaneously. What I found particularly enjoyable was the way the stories overlapped; we’d finish with one character, take a step back in time to follow another character and witness how they affected each other, seeing scenes from different angles that reveal new information. It’s a really impressively design film on that level, and it fits exactly what I like to see in a noir mystery.

The film isn’t without its flaws, however, and that’s largely due to its runtime. I found the story enthralling for 80% of its 140 minutes, but in its final act, it really begins to drag itself out longer than it needs to. I got the impression that Goddard thought he had more loose ends to tie up than he needed to, even though he didn’t but still left a loose end unresolved. The atmosphere in the cinema changed in this final act; the excitable buzz from the people around me had vanished for people checking their watches next to me. It didn’t affect me too badly, but it’s a film that absolutely could’ve shaved 20 minutes off its runtime and it wouldn’t have hampered the film in any way.

Still, for its runtime to be my only real concern, I’d say El Royale is a sterling success. Drew Goddard continues to impress as a young director and I can’t wait to see what he does next. The cast is terrific across the board, hopefully making a star out of Cynthia Erivo and telling the world that Jeff Bridges has a lot of enthusiasm left in him yet. I had high hopes for the film going into it, and though it wasn’t quite the masterpiece I wanted, it’s still a terrific time at the cinema.

Rhys’ Verdict:

4

Weekend BO Predictions: ‘Halloween’ To Frighten The Box Office With A $70m+ Weekend

You wait 5 years for an October Box Office opening record, and then they start coming like buses. A mere fortnight after ‘Venom’ made $80m in its first 3 days, ‘Halloween’, the direct sequel to the 1978 classic, looks to reach similar levels in its opening weekend, ensuring this October remains on track to be the biggest the B.O. has ever seen.

The 12th film in the franchise (but only the second to be rated ‘Fresh’ on RT with 81%) completely disregards all other sequels and iterations, meaning this latest foray returns 40 years after the first film ended. It sees Jamie Lee Curtis return as the iconic Laurie Strode, who prepares to face mass-murderer Michael Myers, who has recently escaped prison.

Directed and written by the versatile David Gordon Green (‘Stronger’, ‘Pineapple Express’) alongside frequent collaborator Danny McBride, this Blumhouse production was made on just a cut-price budget of $10m.

Such a low cost almost guarantees a quick profit, especially when you consider the size of the franchise, and the timing of release; the Halloween period is ripe for the picking. While ‘The Nun’ made over $50m a month back off of a stronger franchise, ‘Halloween’ has the nostalgic remake factor that allowed ‘It’ to flourish last September.

While there’s fear that the constant ‘Halloween’ sequels over the years have dampened any excitement, the latest Fandango reports that state the film is pre-selling at a higher level than ‘The Nun’ have us predicting an opening around $70m, enough for ‘Halloween’ to have the third biggest horror opening of all time, an amazing feat considering its R rating.

Last weekend’s winner ‘Venom’ will fight a closer battle for second place with ‘A Star is Born’, with both films aiming to earn $20m. ‘Venom’ remains the biggest film of the month, grossing $150.9m stateside, while ‘A Star is Born’ remains behind with a respectable gross of $104.4m.

Nothing has changed in its sophomore weekend, as ‘First Man’, Damien Chazelle’s latest release still looks resigned to flop at the Box Office. Any hopes of a leggy run will be dashed as it aims to gross just over $8m will get the film to a total of $30m domestically, a poor return from a near-$60m budget.

Next is Fox’s ‘The Hate U Give’, starring Amandla Stenberg alongside Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Common. Entering over 2,300 cinemas after being in limited release for the past 2 weekends, it boasts an impressive 96% on the Tomatometer and 82 on Metacritic. The drama follows Starr Carter (Stenberg), who witnesses her best friend Khalil’s (Algee Smith) death at the hands of the police.

Director George Tillman Jr. of ‘Notorious’ fame will be hoping its positive word of mouth and social relevance will push it over the $6m gross we’re predicting, although heavy competition may drown this one out.

The final new release of the weekend is again, rated Fresh (90%), and again coming off of a limited release. Robert Redford’s ‘The Old Man and The Gun’ marks his last film before retirement, and is based off of the true story of Forrest Trucker, who escaped from prison at the age of 70. The crime-comedy should earn around $1m this weekend, not enough for a place in the top ten.

It’s on track to be a record October, but will it be a record opening for ‘Halloween’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Results: ‘First Man’ Fails To Launch With Just $16m

Written by Dapo Olowu

While ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star is Born’ both improved their strongholds atop the Box Office charts, earning $35m and $28.4m respectively, the real story lies in the disappointing opening gross of Ryan Gosling’s ‘First Man’.

The Neil Armstrong biopic earned just $16m domestically, and $24.6m worldwide, in its first 3 days. This was, of course, way under even the most pessimistic of expectations, causing concern for studio heads over at Universal, who greenlit the $59m project.

Helmed by ‘La La Land’ and ‘Whiplash’ director Damien Chazelle, the film also stars Claire Foy, and was written by ‘Spotlight’ and ‘The Post’ writer Josh Singer. It follows Neil Armstrong (Gosling) in the lead-up to the moon landing of 1969, and has been lauded by the critics, boasting a strong 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Audiences, however, aren’t as keen, leading to doubts that the film will be able to gain any momentum in coming weeks. An audience score of just 61% on RT, as well as an okay B+ on Cinemascore may seriously harm its legs. With award season approaching, the worst possible outcome would be for the Oscar hopeful ‘First Man’ to not emulate ‘Argo’s run ($19.5m opening, $136m domestic total) and not be front-of-mind come December.

We’re reminded of last October’s ‘Blade Runner 2049’, another Gosling-fronted critical darling whose low opening condemned it in the Box Office. Its $32.8m opening stands as Gosling’s biggest ever (‘First Man’ is infact his 4th), perhaps an indication of him not being a Box Office draw (although, outside of The Rock, it’s hard to see who really is). Or maybe the audiences, who were 56% male, just aren’t too keen on biographical dramas marketed as action-thrillers. Regardless, ‘First Man’s opening was still enough to nab 3rd place, just ahead of Sony’s ‘Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween’s $15.8m.

As expected, the sequel to 2015s ‘Goosebumps’ couldn’t live up to its predecessor’s $23.6m start in the face of heavy PG competition, like ‘Smallfoot’ and the worryingly-similar ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’. The latter even starred the same actor in Jack Black, and has the superior critical reception on the Tomatometer (67% vs. ‘G2’s 39%). A domestic finish around $50m is expected for ‘Goosebumps 2’, who won’t face any major competition until Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker’ opens in early November.

To the top of the table now, where ‘Venom’ continued, in its sophomore weekend, to surprise commercially, baffle critically, but please cinemagoers everywhere. Now sitting on $377m worldwide (including $142.1m in the States) after 2 weekends, it already marks Tom Hardy’s 6th biggest ever film both in the U.S. and in the world.

Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star is Born’, again in second place, is starting to really stretch its Box Office legs, now boasting a 2.2x opening weekend multiplier after 10 days of release – leaving it just $6m short of reaching $100m domestically. The Warner Bros. release has also grossed $42m internationally, including $12.3m from the U.K.

The top ten’s final new wide release went to ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’, the unfortunate flop of the weekend. Grossing just $7.1m (a full $10m under our forecast, oops) off of a $32m budget, we can’t see much of a future for this 20th Century Fox thriller. A B- on Cinemascore and 71% on the RT won’t nearly be enough to save it from being another Fox 2018 disappointment, after ‘The Darkest Minds’ and ‘The Predator’.

In a poor weekend for the new releases, it was good news for ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star is Born’. How far can they go, and is there any hope left for ‘First Man’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: One Step Too Small For ‘First Man’ As ‘Venom’ Keeps First Place With $30m+

Written by Dapo Olowu

Three new wide releases enter the Box Office sphere this weekend, with Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong biopic, ‘First Man’, blasting off ahead of ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ and ‘Goosebumps 2’ to top the chart. Standing in its way are the sophomore weekends of ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star Is Born’, both contributing to a record October start 7 days ago. Top spot might be one leap too giant for ‘First Man’ however, as both ‘VenomandA Star is Born’ find themselves in one of the closest Box Office weekend battles in recent memory.

Venom’, having already grossed $102.8m domestically and $230m worldwide, should break the $300m global barrier this weekend – heavily funded by a $31m 3-day gross in the U.S. It’s a second weekend drop around 61%, similar to that of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’, ‘Spider-Man 3’, and even last summer’s much-loved ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’.

Steep weekend drops are expected when it comes to hotly anticipated superhero blockbusters, with the film’s audience having bought tickets by the Friday release date. It’s a completely different story for Warner Bros.’ ‘A Star is Born’ however, a film depending more on word-of-mouth reviews. The critically-acclaimed romantic musical is nearing a $30m gross in its second weekend to put the pressure on Sony’s superhero flick after just a week in its release. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is to reach $100m worldwide by Sunday, a fantastic return from a $36m production cost.

The first of our new releases, ‘First Man’, marks director Damien Chazelle’s third major Hollywood film (and second with Gosling), and like the rest (‘Whiplash’, ‘La La Land’), brings with it a superb critical reception. Boasting 89% on the Tomatometer and a Metascore of 85, ‘First Man’ will also be Chazelle’s first to open wide straight out the gate, and not have a limited release.

Will this harm its chances of financial success? Hard to say, as while limited-to-wide openings lead to mixed Box Office results, a dramatic biopic like this is usually the type to be released that way. Regardless, we’re being as ambitious as the 1969 moon landing with this one, forecasting a strong $27m start to put it just behind the Tom Hanks biopic ‘Sully’ ($35m), but far away from ‘Gravity’s $55.8m, which keeps the prestigious crown of October’s biggest astronaut-themed movie. Unlike ‘Gravity’, it boasts a medium-sized budget at around $70m. The film stars Gosling as Neil Armstrong, as well as Claire Foy as his wide Janet Shearon, and Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin.

First Man’ isn’t the only film set in 1969. Drew Goddard’s ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’, released by Fox, is an end-of-the-60s thriller boasting an all-star cast. Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, and Nick Offerman (amongst others) feature as strangers in a hotel on the Nevada-California border. It’s opening is a little strange to predict – could it be the next ‘Hotel Artemis’ ($3.2m opening) or ‘Atomic Blonde’ ($18.3m)? Its promo has definitely alluded to both, but our optimism knows no bounds, meaning we’re looking at the latter here, for a $17.5m opening.

Such a gross would put it right above the final new release ‘Goosebumps 2’, which has the unfortunate pleasure of not only looking identical to recent comedy-horror ‘The House With a Clock In Its Walls’, but also starring ‘The House’s Jack Black as one of the main characters. Coupled with the recent child-friendly competition in the form of ‘Smallfoot’, we can’t see this film matching the heights of its predecessor, which grossed $23.6m 3 years ago. Therefore, a $16m 3-day weekend is in store for the film that cost just $35m to produce.

In one of the closest Box Office races we can remember, who do you see prevailing? Will ‘Venom’ keep top spot like we’re expecting? Will ‘A Star is Born’ hold strong against the rest? Or will new release ‘First Man’

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Let The Games Begin In New ‘Bad Times At The El Royale’ Trailer

“Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell.”

Directed by: Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Offerman, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman

Release Date: October 5th, 2018

It’s Time To Check-In In The First Trailer For “Bad Times At The El Royale”

“Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell.”

Directed by: Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Offerman, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman

Release Date: October 5th, 2018