'Halloween Kills' smashed box-office expectations despite also streaming on Peacock and it shows the strength of the horror genre

·2 min read
Michael Myers is back in "Halloween Kills."
Michael Myers is back in "Halloween Kills." Universal
  • "Halloween Kills" topped the domestic box office over the weekend with $50 million.

  • It cost just $20 million to produce.

  • Horror movies have been resilient during the pandemic, from "A Quiet Place Part II" to "Candyman."

"Halloween Kills," the sequel to the 2018 "Halloween" franchise revival, exceeded expectations at the US box office over the weekend, showing once more that the horror genre is thriving during the pandemic.

The movie earned $50 million in its domestic debut while also streaming simultaneously on NBCUniversal's Peacock service. It's below the $76 million opening weekend of its predecessor, but an impressive total considering the pandemic, it's availability on streaming, and its poor reviews. It has a 39% Rotten Tomatoes critic score while 2018's "Halloween" received a more positive 79%.

2018's "Halloween" ultimately grossed $159 million in the US and $255 million worldwide.

"That's hard to match, but this is an outstanding start anyway, under any conditions," Hollywood consultant David A. Gross said. "The horror genre is alive and well."

"Halloween Kills" will face competition in its second weekend as Warner Bros.' "Dune" hits theaters (and HBO Max) and piracy could be an issue. It was No. 3 on piracy news website Torrent Freak's weekly list of most pirated movies on Monday, likely due to it being available to stream.

"When a movie is released simultaneously to a streaming service, a pristine copy of that movie is made available day one that it's in cinemas," John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told Insider during a recent interview.

But the movie is already a win for the distributor Universal and production company Blumhouse. It was made for a small sum of $20 million and it's the best domestic opening of the pandemic for a horror movie, topping "A Quiet Place Part II's" $47.5 million.

Horror has been a resilient genre during the pandemic, and Universal in particular has capitalized with not only "Halloween Kills" but "Candyman" and "Old," as well. Paramount's "A Quiet Place Part II" and Warner Bros.' "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It" also topped the box office this year.

"Filmmakers like Jordan Peele, the Blumhouse roster of talent, and others have helped the horror genre gain a new level of respect, box-office revenue potential, and enduring audience appeal," Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, recently told Insider.

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