Hear Me Out: Halloween Box Office Estimates Aren’t Anywhere Near High Enough

Michael Myers in a closet Halloween 2018

With its release date now less than a month away, David Gordon Green's Halloween now has Hollywood in preparation mode. The movie is set to make a significant splash this fall season, and reports have come in suggesting that the opening weekend sum will be somewhere between $50 million and $85 million. This would actually be pretty huge by itself, given that the current October record holder is Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity (which made $55.7 million back in 2013)... but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the estimated range is too small. Instead, everyone should really be prepared for Halloween to be this year's version of IT, in that it will make over $100 million in its first three days.

So far out this may seem like a bold claim, especially when looked at in the perspective of the rest of the Halloween franchise, but it's one that I'm willing to defend. In the most positive sense possible, there is a perfect storm gathering around the October 21st weekend, and the combination of the current market with the building buzz campaign should allow the new film to become one of the most successful horror releases of all time.

As you may have guessed, much of this confidence stems from the very real horror boom that pop culture is currently experiencing, and it's very much a situation where a high tide lifts all boats. I've already mentioned Andres Muschietti's IT -- which was also underestimated because of its R-rating and fall release, but still managed to make $123.4 million in one record-shattering weekend -- but it's part of a much larger pattern of major successes. Halloween can take full advantage of the clear hunger for scares that led to movies like Jordan Peele's Get Out, Chris Landon's Happy Death Day, John Krasinski's A Quiet Place, and Ari Aster's Hereditary raking in huge bucks, but it has the chance to do even better thanks to brand recognition, and a spectacularly-handled ramp up to release that has been executed by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions.

Any Halloween fan will tell you that the franchise has not had a tremendous amount of success when it comes to blending the concepts of "sequels" and "quality," but not only is David Gordon Green's movie a totally different beast, the studio backing it seems to clearly recognize it. In the weeks leading up to release, Universal and Blumhouse have been getting the feature out there, premiering it as the first midnighter at this year's Toronto International Film Festival; screening it for junket press; and then bringing it to Austin's Fantastic Fest; and the reaction has been immensely positive. What's more, it plays as a massive, exciting crowd-pleaser, and audiences are going to be overwhelmed by the experience when it arrives. Interest will grow exponentially over its first three days, and the box office results will show it.

The final big piece of the puzzle is just the correlation between the release and the spooky holiday from which it got its name. As mentioned earlier, audiences don't seem to need an excuse these days to go out and see the latest big horror movie, but there has always been a special relationship between scary flicks and All Hallows Eve, and that could be taken to an extreme in 2018. Obviously Halloween titles have taken advantage of this before (six of the 11 releases have come out in October), but what's coming this year is a special beast given not only the early positive critical reception, but even key cache elements like the notable return of franchise-creator John Carpenter behind the scenes. There aren't even going to be any other adult-centric features in the genre competing with it, and it's going to lead to box office dominance.

I'll admit that part of this is also just a gut thing. Sometimes you can just watch a movie, feel the audience's reaction, and smell a hit -- and that's the exact feeling I got personally seeing Halloween earlier this month. It's a special, massively entertaining film that is hitting at exactly the right moment, and the result is going to be reflected in nine-digit returns by the time October 23rd comes to a close.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.