David Gordon Green’s Halloween opened theatrically on October 19th, and the box office numbers are already breaking records. The highly-anticipated return to Haddonfield has grossed $77.5 million domestically, with a worldwide total of $91.8 million. That’s quite the opening weekend.
As noted by Variety, these numbers don’t quite beat Andy Muschietti’s IT – which totaled $123 million over its opening weekend, making it the most successful start for an R-rated horror film – but Halloween sits comfortably in second place for both R-rated horror and films with an October debut (falling just behind Venom‘s $80 million).
That said, Halloween has earned the well-deserved top spot in a few categories. Halloween destroyed the franchise record opening, which was previously resting at $26 million for Rob Zombie’s 2007 reboot. It also smashed into first place as Blumhouse’s best debut, previously held by Paranormal Activity 3 at $52.5 million.
Halloween can also celebrate two new records for women in horror. The film has taken the crown as the highest-grossing opening for a horror film with a female lead, and thanks to the return of scream queen supreme Jamie Lee Curtis in her iconic role as Laurie Strode, Halloween marks the biggest launch ever for a female lead over 55 years old.
Made with a budget of only $10 million, and currently sitting with a score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, there are plenty of reasons for Blumhouse to celebrate.
“I am enormously proud of this film,” said Jason Blum. “‘Halloween’ brings the franchise back to life in a fresh, relevant and fun way that is winning over fans and critics alike.”
Halloween premiered at TIFF in September (read our review from the world premiere here!) and went on to screen at multiple festivals including Fantastic Fest and Sitges. Initial projections for Halloween showed an opening weekend estimate of $55 million.
Considering that many fans had the opportunity to see the film before its official opening weekend (and film festival numbers are typically not included in opening weekend totals), this is an impressive start.
Any time that a horror film does this well in the box office – whether you liked the movie or not – it’s a benefit for the genre as a whole.
Horror movies sell, and they sell well. This communicates a strong message to studios that there is a loyal, passionate audience for horror. It’s quickly become a legitimate, lucrative market that cannot be ignored.