‘Halloween Kills’ carves out $50.4 million at box office

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“Halloween Kills” may be available to watch at home, but the latest installment in the Michael Myers saga is making a killing at the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters. The David Gordon Green-directed horror scared up $50.4 million from 3,705 locations, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Universal’s “Halloween Kills” far surpassed expectations, which had the film pegged for a more conservative debut in the $30 million range. It also easily bested its main competition, which included the James Bond pic “No Time to Die,” in its second weekend, and Ridley Scott’s medieval epic “The Last Duel.” Both are playing exclusively in theaters.

The film picks up where Green’s 2018 “Halloween” left off, on the same bloody night, with Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode. Some were surprised when the studio made the decision to release “Halloween Kills” simultaneously in theaters and on NBC Universal’s Peacock for premium subscribers, but the day-and-date strategy does not seem to have hurt its box office haul.

Before “Halloween Kills,” which had a reported $20 million production budget, the biggest day-and-date opening of the year was Warner Bros.' “Godzilla vs. Kong” which grossed $32.2 million in its first weekend while also being available on HBO Max. It’s a best for a pandemic-era horror opening, narrowly beating out “A Quiet Place Part II.”

The 2018 “Halloween” was a massive hit that opened to $76.2 million and went on to gross north of $256 million against a $10 million budget. And there are plans for a third that will close out the modern Michael Myers trilogy.

The James Bond film “No Time To Die” slid into second place in its second weekend in North America with $24.3 million, which is down only 56% from last weekend and brings its total to $99.5 million.

Further down the charts is “The Last Duel,” Scott's 14th century drama starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jodie Comer and Adam Driver, which has earned only an estimated $4.8 million from 3,065 locations despite positive reviews and an exclusive theatrical run. Distributed by the Walt Disney Co., “The Last Duel” was a title the company inherited in the deal with 20th Century Fox.

Next week Warner Bros.’ big budget adaptation of “Dune” opens in theaters and on HBO Max, as does Disney’s “Ron’s Gone Wrong” and Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch.”

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

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