LOS ANGELES, Oct 17 (Variety.com) - Universal and
Blumhouse's "Halloween Kills" topped the weekend box office with
a $50.3 million debut. That's a bloody good showing considering
that the film is being release simultaneously in theaters and
on-demand via Peacock, NBCUniversal's in-house Netflix
challenger. That kind of distribution pattern has depressed
ticket sales in recent months, with films like Warner Bros.'
"Cry Macho" and "The Suicide Squad" failing to resonate with
moviegoers when they were made available at the same time on HBO
An exclusive theatrical release wasn't enough to save "The
Last Duel," a lavish historical epic starring Adam Driver, Jodie
Comer and, venturing very far afield from the Cambridge/Southie
milieu that made them stars in "Good Will Hunting," Matt Damon
and Ben Affleck. The drama, which is set in 14th century France,
bombed, grossing a pallid $4.8 million. That's a disastrous
result given that the film cost north of $100 million and a sign
that older audiences remain skittish about returning to theaters
when COVID and its variants are still circulating. The film was
inherited by Walt Disney after it bought 20th Century Fox
Studios in 2019. Ridley Scott, who also oversaw this fall's
"House of Gucci," directed. Critics were kind, but that couldn't
save the movie, which is limping to a fifth-place finish.
Elsewhere, MGM, United Artists Releasing and Eon
Productions' "No Time to Die" earned $24.3 million in its second
weekend of release, good enough for a second-place finish.
That's a drop of 56%, which is roughly in line with how other
James Bond films have performed in their sophomore frame. It
brings the film's domestic haul to $99.5 million, a respected
result in pandemic times. However, the problem for the 007
sequel is that it was greenlit in pre-COVID times and carries a
massive $250 million price tag along with more than $100 million
in promotional spending. Given those costs, "No Time to Die"
will have trouble turning a profit during its theatrical run.
Sony's "Venom Let The Be Carnage" slides in at third place,
capturing $16.5 million in its web. That brings its domestic
haul to $169.1 million, an impressive figure that guarantees
audiences haven't seen the last of this symbiote. UAR and MGM's
"The Addams Family 2" nabbed fourth place with $7.2 million,
pushing its domestic gross to $42.3 million.
"Halloween Kills" revives the un-killable Michael Myers
(last seen incinerating in a house) and brings back franchise
star Jamie Lee Curtis. David Gordon Green, who orchestrated the
carnage in the 2018 reboot, returns as director. They'll all be
back for more bloodletting with 2022 "Halloween Ends." Given
that this is a film series that dates back to 1978, that title
is likely a misnomer.