Happy Halloween everyone! Some will be happier than others after the numbers this weekend. Hollywood appears to be taking a little break before moviegoers rush theaters to see Wakanda Forever next week, but audiences did get a new horror film this week – and a PG-13 one to boot – after a spate of R-rated ones. The studio did not screen it for critics, and from its current score, we can see why. A new exorcism film from the director of The Last Exorcism was unlikely to challenge Black Adam for the top spot, but the latter already faces challenges of its own, even after a second week at the top.
Last week in this column we wrote that only one film had ever grossed less than $27 million in its second weekend and made it to $200 million. That film was Jumanji: The Next Level, and it also had the benefit of schools starting Christmas vacation on its second weekend, helping it gross over $130 million in the next two weeks. Black Adam made $27.5 million this weekend, which is more than enough to be No. 1, but it’s certainly not feeling that in the pre-James Gunn era of the DC Universe. That is a 59% drop from its $67 million opening. Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, and Batman v Superman all had bigger drops, but they also had much greater heights to fall from.
This brings Black Adam’s 10-day total to nearly $111 million, which is the seventh best for an October release. But the best thing it can say right now is that it is outpacing last year’s No Time To Die, which had $99 million after 10 days and a $23.7 million second weekend. It ultimately ended up with just over $160 million. That is even less than last November’s Eternals, which had $118 million after a $26.8 million weekend and wound up with just under $165 million. Even if Adam boots and rallies, a total between $160-170 million is not what WB & DC had in mind for the Dwayne Johnson anti-superhero film. The worldwide total for the nearly $200-million budgeted film currently stands at just $250 million, and if it can only expect around another $50-60 million from North America, this could turn into a Fantastic Beasts 3 kind of loser for Warner Bros. to go out on in 2022.
A more promising hold this week was in the No. 2 slot with Ticket To Paradise. The George Clooney/Julia Roberts rom-com dropped just 39% to $10 million and brought its total up to $34 million. The Footloose redux from 2011 had nearly an identical second weekend and ultimately finished with over $51 million. Ticket To Paradise is nearly $4 million ahead of that film’s pace, suggesting that Universal’s comedy-is-not-dead entry could be headed to around $60 million. If so, it would mark the 10th live-action film of 2022 neither connected to any universe or series nor a remake to earn as much. (One of those, The Woman King, is about to pass $65 million.) Free Guy was the only film to achieve that in 2021.
Prey for the Devil was the only new release of the week, and its glass-half-full story is that it bested all of the other horror films that have been out for multiple weeks and did better than last year’s October close-out, Antlers ($4.27 million opening), though not by a lot. The Lionsgate release (originally called The Devil’s Light) made $7 million in its debut, which is about what the studio’s The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent opened to back in April. The only release from the studio that has cracked a $10 million opening weekend since Knives Out in November 2019 was The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard last summer. Lionsgate has fallen on hard times since the pandemic, including losing the Knives Out franchise to Netflix. They at least have the fourth John Wick in their pocket for next March and a new Hunger Games for next November, but how long will these sustain them for the future?
As for the other horror films that have made their share of headlines the past month, Smile continues to be the best of them. Another $5 million this weekend brings its total over $92 million, and the exclusive theatrical release is well on pace to cross $100 million. The same can’t be said for current Peacock streamer Halloween Ends, which fell 52% in weekend three to $3.8 million. It has crossed $60 million, nearly matching the 2009 Friday the 13th’s 17-day total of $60.7 million and its third weekend of $3.68 million. That film finished with just $65 million after its own $40 million opening. Terrifier 2 will not reach those heights but it certainly feels like it has to its makers. The film more than doubled its theater count this week to 1,550 and it again saw an increase in business (2.7%) to $1.8 million, bringing its total to $7.7 million. Damien Leone’s film has now outgrossed Alex Garland’s Men and has its sights set on passing George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing and Ti West’s Pearl.
A number of some of the best-reviewed films of the year also saw expansions this week. The most prominent of which was Chinonye Chukwu’s Till, which jumped from 104 theaters to 2,058 and grossed just $2.8 million (a $1,360 per-theater average), bringing its total to $3.6 million. Todd Field’s Tár went from 141 theaters to 1,087 and grossed a cool million, upping its haul to over $2.4 million. Finally, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin expanded from 4 to 59 theaters and grossed $540,000. Its total now stands at $790,000.
After David O. Russell’s Amsterdam abandoned next weekend for the beginning of October, no studio stepped up to fill that release void. Thus, next week will see the expansion of James Gray’s Armageddon Time with Anne Hathaway, which grossed $72,000 in six theaters this weekend. Black Adam will be in line to lead the box office for a third straight week on its journey towards $160 million or so it hopes.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros.