Box Office Breakdown: “Halloween Kills” slaughters “The Last Duel”

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This weekend brought the first major horror selection of the season, the aptly titled “Halloween Kills.” 

The sequel to 2018’s “Halloween,” which in itself is a reboot of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic “Halloween,” revolves around the famed serial killer Michael Myers. The film had a great opening weekend, earning right around $50 million. This is fantastic, especially factoring its reported $20 million budget.  

For those interested in a deeper breakdown of “Halloween Kills” financial success, we can use 2018’s “Halloween” as the basis for comparison. 2018’s “Halloween” opened to north of $75 million and ended with only $159 million total domestic gross, a 2.09 multiple. If “Halloween Kills” grosses on a similar path, that puts its final domestic total right around $105 million. If the domestic to international gross ratio remains a 60:40 split (like 2018’s “Halloween”), then the film should gross around $42 million internationally.  

This would set its worldwide total at $147 million on a $20 million budget. Now, usually studios take home about half of the box office revenue domestically (the other half goes to theaters). Internationally, that take is 40%, meaning the film’s prospective revenue would be about $70 million.  

The $20 million budget does not include marketing, which for a film of this stature is about double the production budget, leaving total expenses to be estimated at around $40 million.  

Thus, based on this opening we can prognosticate, using 2018’s Halloween as a benchmark, that the film will net $30 million in profit for Universal Studios and Blumhouse. 

In second place this weekend is Daniel Craig’s swan song to James Bond, “No Time to Die.” The film earned just above $24 million this weekend, putting its domestic total barely below $100 million. Its 56% drop from last weekend is on par with most big budget films like itself, though MGM certainly hoped for better legs for this picture. Luckily, the film is overperforming internationally, as it stands with about a $450 million gross worldwide. Though it probably will not profit due to its large budget, Bond certainly is performing well in this difficult pandemic-era box office. 

In third place with a $16.5 million gross is the symbiotic superhero film, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” This 48% drop from last weekend is much improved on last weekend’s gargantuan 65% drop, putting this film in a better position to clear $210 million in its domestic run. Currently at $168 million, “Venom” is $15 million away from clearing “Black Widow” to become the second-highest grossing film this year domestically. 

Coming in fourth and fifth place this past weekend are “The Addams Family 2” and “The Last Duel,” respectively. The family grossed a respectable $7.2 million in its third weekend, while the medieval drama grossed a measly $4.8 million. According to Variety, “The Last Duel” has a budget around $100 million. Unless something extraordinary happens, this film is guaranteed to lose well over $100 million, if not more. 

Next weekend comes the release of three new films: the science-fiction action film “Dune,” the animated comedy “Ron’s Gone Wrong” and Wes Anderson’s comedy-drama “The French Dispatch.” 

“Dune” is the big one for this coming week and is almost guaranteed to open at No. 1 this coming weekend. I expect a gross between $40-$50 million for this science fiction epic.  

“Ron’s Gone Wrong” has been getting great reviews, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of buzz for this picture. I predict an opening of around $8 million, though it will hold well throughout its run. 

“The French Dispatch” will attract fans of Anderson’s style, but not many others due to limited marketing and distribution — thus, I expect an opening of around $5 million.  

Ultimately, the box office has yet to decide the fate of these films. I wish them the best of luck this coming weekend. 

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