Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Halloween keeps its stranglehold on the box office

(L to R) Andi Matichak, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Judy Greer pose with a Strode family friend.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

What’s better than being the No. 1 film in America? Being the No. 1 film in the world. Although Halloween only managed to double the returns of its closest competitor—not quadruple them, like it did last week—at the domestic box office this weekend, it took in an extra $25.1 million overseas, making it the No. 1 film in the world at this particular moment.

Returns on David Gordon Green’s revisionist slasher sequel are already astronomical, making $176 million worldwide on a reported $10-15 million production budget. As we noted last weekend, Halloween set a record in its first weekend as the best opening of all time for a horror film with a female lead. And it’s undoubtedly helped push this month over the top to become the highest-grossing October of all time, which means that Jamie Lee Curtis is now the Queen of October. Apologies to all other autumnal hopefuls, but we don’t make the rules.


Speaking of strong box-office performers and made-up royalty, A Star Is Born and Venom held their places in the No. 2 and No. 3 domestic box-office spots this weekend. They were followed by Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, holding down the trick-or-treat demographic at No. 4. Meanwhile, the week’s most successful new wide release, Hunter Killer, came in at No. 5, satisfying the ever-robust market for “watchably dumb” action fare.

The real drama for new releases this week comes further down the charts, where Suspiria opened atop the specialty box office at No. 22. The film brought in $179,806 on just two screens, the year’s best per-screen average. (Director Luca Guadagnino is two for two: Call Me By Your Name boasted last year’s best per-screen average in its opening weekend.) The film goes wide this coming weekend, and, if our predictions are correct, may not go over as well as Halloween has with general audiences. Or perhaps we’re underestimating the American public’s taste for occult art-horror. We’ll find out next week.

Of course, Suspiria’s record may be broken by the end of the year, given that we’re about to head into awards season. Many of the films that end up on critics’ best-of lists open in limited release; for example, this weekend marked the debut of one that’s practically guaranteed to appear on ours: Burning, South Korean master Lee Chang-dong’s slow-burn take on the “you vs. the guy she told you not to worry about” meme co-starring Steven Yuen as the guy. That film opened with a solid average of $14,325 on each of its two screens, placing it at No. 32.

Five more screens made the difference for Swedish genre-bender Border, which opened a few places ahead of Burning at No. 29 despite a lower per-screen average. Expect to hear more about that one in a month or so when critics’ best-of lists start appearing online, as well as Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which continues to inch up the box-office charts, and Mid90s, which jumped a full 10 places from No. 20 to No. 10 this weekend as its nationwide rollout began in earnest. This weekend sees the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody; bad reviews and disturbing sexual assault allegations made against director Bryan Singer have thus far colored pre-release chatter about the film. But, again, sometimes the American public cares about these things, and sometimes they don’t.


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