Halloween Ends Opens At Number One At The Box Office, But Is There Trouble Dead Ahead?

Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Ends
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Movie-going has certainly changed since the start of the pandemic, but one big screen maxim is most definitely holding true: if it's October, people want to watch horror films. This fact has significantly boosted the box office in the last few weeks, with Parker Finn's Smile performing incredibly well – and it's why we are not surprised in the least to see that the number one movie domestically this past weekend was David Gordon Green's Halloween Ends. That being said, there are good reasons to be concerned about what will happen in the weeks ahead.

Check out the full Top 10 results below, and join me after for analysis!

Halloween Ends Weekend Box Office October 14-16, 2022

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)
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1. Halloween Ends*$41,250,000 $41,250,000 Row 0 - Cell 3 3,901
2. Smile$12,400,000 $71,167,899 13,612
3. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile$7,400,000 $22,757,353 24,350
4. The Woman King$3,700,000 $59,746,217 42,565
5. Amsterdam$2,891,000 $11,959,234 33,005
6. Don't Worry Darling$2,185,000 $42,403,454 52,734
7. Barbarian$1,411,000 $38,961,777 71,805
8. Bros$920,000 $10,835,735 82,201
9. Terrifier 2$850,000 $2,295,000 11700
10. Top Gun: Maverick$685,000 $715,755,567 10902

Halloween Ends Dominates, But Has The Weakest Opening Of The Movies In The New Trilogy

Taken purely at face value, Halloween Ends did well during its opening weekend at the box office. Being a Blumhouse production, it's a film that didn't cost a lot to make (USA Today pins the budget between $20-30 million), and a $43.1 million haul in its first three days (via The Numbers) means that the movie is on its way to making a profit. Additionally, its currently marked as being the twelfth biggest debut of 2022 thus far, sandwiched between two titles that definitely cost a lot more to make: David Yates' Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore ($42.2 million) and Daniel Espinosa's Morbius ($39 million).

Unfortunately, the shine comes off the numbers rather fast as soon as you start doing a bit of analysis. 

For starters, one can't help but notice that Halloween Ends' opening weekend performance is worse than those put up by David Gordon Green's two previous franchise installments, 2018's Halloween ($76.2 million) and 2021's Halloween Kills ($49.4 million). It's not totally fair to compare the new movie to the former, as that film didn't come out during the pandemic, was bolstered by waves of critical hype, and resurrected the franchise... but the latter comparison is more valid and is troubling.

It's often the case that trilogy finales get a box office bump because even the casual fans want to see how everything is brought to a conclusion, but we're not seeing that here, and one has to wonder if the reason is because of the fact that Universal Pictures decided to simultaneously release Halloween Ends in theaters and on streaming. It's wholly believable that the aforementioned casual fans still watched the movie, but their interest level only took them as far as creating a Peacock subscription instead of going to their local theater. Needless to say, that's a bad thing for the big screen experience.

Michael Myers in Halloween Ends

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

It may additionally be the case  that this is only the start of Halloween Ends' Peacock-related woes on the big screen. Like its sequel, Halloween Kills was also given a hybrid  release when it came out last October, and it ended up spelling disaster for the movie in its second Friday-to-Sunday. After making nearly $50 million in its debut, it sunk a staggering 71 percent from weekend-to-weekend

Some of the blame was put on the exciting release of Denis Villeneuve's blockbuster adaptation of Dune, but analysists also pointed the finger at Halloween Kills being available to stream. The people most passionate about seeing the movie on the big screen went to see it opening weekend, and everyone else settled for Peacock.

It's hard not to see the exact same scenario playing out this year with Halloween Ends. In addition to streaming stealing its audience, next week will also see the release of Jaume Collet-Serra's Black Adam. I fear the new horror movie only making seven figures in its sophomore weekend, which would be a nightmare scenario. 

I didn't understand the logic when Universal announced the hybrid strategy for Halloween Ends in August, and I don't understand it now that the first wave of the movie's box office results are in.

While the hybrid release model has left Halloween Ends in a precarious position, Smile is continuing to prove the incredible value of a theatrical exclusive release. Based on what is featured in the chart above, it may not appear as though Parker Finn's new horror movie put up much of a fight against the major franchise release (it's never a great look when the #1 movie makes more than three times that of #2), but that's deceptive. What Smile has done is rather incredible.

A three day total of $12.4 million may not seem that impressive, but perspective shifts when you remember that the film made $18.5 last weekend. That's a 33 percent weekend-to-weekend drop coming off an insane 18 percent weekend-to-weekend drop... and that's not even the most amazing part. You'd think Halloween Ends would steal a large percentage of Smile's audience – what with them both being R-rated horror movies – but that didn't really happen. Instead, the original feature is continuing to prove itself as one of the greatest box office stories of 2022.

To date, Smile has made $71.2 million at home and $137.6 million globally. By this time next week it's possible that its ticket sales in the United States and Canada will surpass the numbers put up by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's Scream in the early months of the year, which is pretty staggering. Its in the process of solidifying its place in the domestic Top 20 of 2022, and there are still two full weekends ahead in October before we get to the scary main event that is Halloween at the end of the month.

Looking ahead to next week, not only will movie-goers get to see the long-awaited release of Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson, but Hollywood is also tossing out some counterprogramming in the form of Ol Parker's Ticket To Paradise – a new romantic comedy reuniting George Clooney and Julia Roberts. 

How will these new releases shake up the Top 10? Be sure  to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to check out the weekend box office results, and you can preview what's ahead in what remains of the year via our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.