JustWatch: Original ‘Halloween,’ ‘House of the Dragon’ Top Weekly Streaming Through Nov. 6

Universal Pictures’ enduring “Halloween” movie franchise continues to have strong legs. The original 1978 Halloween, which introduced moviegoers to teenager Laura Strode and sociopath killer Michael Myers, was the top streamed movie for the week ended Nov. 6, according to new data from JustWatch — the Berlin-based company that tracks the SVOD streaming habits of 20 million users across 59 markets, including the United States.

The movie topped Netflix’s original slasher Barbarian, and Terrifier 2, which is distributed by Cinedigm’s Bloody Disgusting business unit.

The Roku original movie Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, starring Daniel Radcliffe as the eccentric comedian, finished No. 4 in its debut.

Among episodic programming, HBO Max’s “House of the Dragon” and “The White Lotus” topped weekly streaming, followed by Peacock’s “Yellowstone.”

‘Halloween Ends’ Tops North American Weekend Box Office Despite Concurrent Release on Peacock Streaming

Universal Pictures/Blumhouse’s Halloween Ends, the third movie in the rebooted franchise starring Jamie Lee Curtis as eternal Laurie Strode (now an avenging grandma) fighting sociopath killer Michael Myers, easily topped the North American weekend box office with an estimated $41.2 million in revenue through Oct. 16.

That’s well below industry estimates that pegged Curtis’ reported final “Halloween” movie appearance generating upwards of $49 million. The movie sold another $17.1 million worth of tickets across 77 foreign markets, for $58.4 million gross worldwide.

Notably, selling more than $41 million worth of tickets for a movie that is available for free on the Peacock streaming platform is impressive. At the same time, last year’s Halloween Kills also was also released concurrently on Peacock.

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The NBCUniversal hybrid SVOD/AVOD platform ended the most recent fiscal period with 15 million paid subscribers. It is also available for free to more than 17 million Xfinity pay-TV subscribers.

Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ sleeper horror hit Smile continues to impress. The move collected an estimated $12.5 million in ticket sales to move past $71 million in North American revenue. The movie had already topped $100 million globally entering the weekend.

Rounding out the podium was Sony Pictures’ live-animated family film Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which generated $7.4 million in revenue to up its global tally to $22.7 million after two weekends.

Finally, Columbia TriStar Pictures’ period actioner The Woman King, starring Oscar winner Viola Davis, sold another $3.7 million in tickets to elevate its North American haul near $60 million after five weekends.

Imax Begins Advance Ticket Sales for Universal Pictures’ ‘Halloween Ends’

3D theatrical operator Imax has begun selling tickets to the Oct. 14 debut of Universal Pictures’ Halloween Ends. The film purportedly marks Jamie Lee Curtis’ last turn as Laurie Strode, whose decades-long nightmare with demented killer Michael Myers first began in 1978 with the franchise’s inaugural release of Halloween.

Imax says it will screen Halloween Ends for one week only. That is due in part to the fact that the movie will begin streaming on the same day as its theatrical debut on NBCUniversal’s Peacock subscription/ad-supported platform.

NBCUniversal employed the same strategy in 2021 for the release of Halloween Kills, which still generated $92 million in North American theatrical revenue and $131 million globally on a $20 million production budget. More importantly, the movie sold nearly $50 million worth of tickets in its weekend debut while streaming for no additional cost for Peacock subscribers.

“We discovered there are people who want to go to the theater and scream their guts out. We also discovered that there are people who want to stay at home and scream their guts out,” Curtis said on a social media post last month.

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The release strategy comes as theater operators endured one of the worst September box office results on record. The month’s North American ticket sales rank the worst in 25 years with just $275 million in revenue.

At the same time, Peacock remains stagnant with around 15 million paying subscribers. The platform is available for free to all Xfinity pay-TV subscribers.

Universal Pictures Sets Home Release Dates for ‘Halloween Kills’

Halloween Kills, the big theatrical horror hit of this year’s Halloween season, will be released through digital retailers on Dec. 14, and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc and DVD a month later, on Jan. 11, 2022.

The Universal Pictures film, the 12th installment in the “Halloween” franchise, earned a domestic gross of nearly $92 million. 

The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release of Halloween Kills features the original theatrical release, an extended cut with an alternate ending, and exclusive bonus content that includes extended and deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes look at creating the film, a gag reel and several short documentaries.

These include “Haddonfield’s Open Wounds,” which takes a look at some of the returning characters and why their past traumatic encounters made them natural candidates to defend their town against Michael; “Strode Family Values,” in which filmmakers discuss the three generations of Strode women who have been terrorized by The Shape; and “1978 Transformations,” about how the filmmakers shot new footage that matches the iconic 1978 original.
 

‘You’ Top Streaming Original, ‘Halloween Kills’ Top Streaming Movie on Whip Media Charts

Netflix’s “You” led the Whip Media chart of top streaming originals and Halloween Kills the chart of top streaming movies among U.S. consumers for the week ended Oct. 17.

Season three of the psychological thriller series “You,” which started streaming Oct. 15, features the continuation of Joe Goldberg’s fraught relationship with Love, who is pregnant with his child in a new suburban home.

Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills, the latest entrant in the long-running “Halloween” horror series, is available for streaming to Peacock Premium SVOD subscribers as well as in theaters. The sequel to the 2018 reboot from Blumhouse has Jamie Lee Curtis again reprising her original teen (now grandmother) role as Laurie Strode intent on ending the murderous reign of Michael Myers.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

At No. 2 on the streaming originals chart was “Squid Game,” a South Korean series that follows a group of desperate and cash-strapped people competing in a blood-thirsty survival game. It started streaming Sept. 17.

The bronze on the streaming originals chart went to Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” Viewers may have been catching up with the series in the week leading up to the finale, which debuted Oct. 19.

Coming in at No. 2 on the streaming movies chart was the Marvel feature Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson. It became available at no additional cost to Disney+ subscribers Oct. 6.

Repeating at No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Netflix’s stand-up comedy special Dave Chappelle: The Closer, which started streaming Oct. 5. The show has created controversy over Chappelle’s comments about trans people.

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 17:

  1. “You” — Netflix (season premiere)
  2. “Squid Game” — Netflix
  3. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  4. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  5. “Titans” (2018) — HBO Max
  6. “The Morning Show” — Apple TV+
  7. “On My Block” — Netflix
  8. “Maid” — Netflix
  9. “Another Life” — Netflix (season premiere)
  10. “Doom Patrol” — HBO Max

 

Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 17:

  1. Halloween Kills — Peacock
  2. Black Widow — Disney+
  3. Dave Chappelle: The Closer — Netflix
  4. The Guilty — Netflix
  5. Halloween (2018) — Fubo TV
  6. Scream 2 — AMC+
  7. Tusk — Showtime
  8. There’s Someone Inside Your House — Netflix
  9. Halloween (1978) — AMC+
  10. Muppets Haunted Mansion — Disney+

‘Halloween Kills’ Domestic Box Office With $50.4 Million Debut

Universal Pictures’ sequel Halloween Kills didn’t disappoint, generating an estimated $50.4 million in opening weekend box office revenue across more than 3,700 North American screens.

The sequel to the 2018 reboot from Blumhouse, with Jamie Lee Curtis again reprising her original teen (now grandmother) role as Laurie Strode, intent on ending the murderous reign of Michael Myers, is the highest-grossing theatrical bow for a movie concurrently available on streaming at no extra cost to Peacock subscribers.

Halloween Kills‘ opening did not match the $76 million opening for 2018’s Halloween, which heavily marketed the return of Curtis to the role that launched her career. Kills is expected to resonate strongly at the box office through Oct. 31, before it will be made available on premium VOD.

Jamie Lee Curtis as grandmother Laurie Strode in Halloween Kills

MGM/United Artists Releasing’s James Bond title No Time to Die was the week’s runner-up with more than $24.3 million, reaching nearly $100 million at North American screens ($447 million globally) in Daniel Craig’s last run as Agent 007.

Another hyped new release, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel (20th Century Studios), failed to match its $7 million to $10 million box office estimates, with less than $5 million in ticket sales. The result is disappointing for a film that reportedly cost $100 million to make — and features Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer.

Finally, Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage saw $16.5 million in ticket sales to bring its three-week total to $169.1 million, while MGM/United Releasing’s The Addams Family 2 realized $7.2 million in ticket sales ($42.3 million overall).

Box Office Forecast: Will It Be a Case of ‘Halloween Kills’ James Bond?

This weekend’s (through Oct. 17) box office battle finds James Bond being challenged by the murderous Michael Myers, who has been tormenting moviegoers since 1978 — 16 years after the first Bond movie. While both characters have survived being shot, blown up, stabbed, drowned, hacksawed and torched (Myers), the box office is a wholly different beast.

MGM/United Artists Releasing’s No Time to Die, featuring actor Daniel Craig in his supposed last performance as Agent 007, opened a week ago to a strong, yet unspectacular, $56 million North American box office. Myers’ return in Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills marks the third release in the Blumhouse reboot that brought back original teen (now grandmother) Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

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Unlike the previous release, which was a box office and critical success, Kills will be the first in the franchise to have concurrent availability on a streaming platform. Universal is making the movie available at no extra charge to Peacock subscribers — a marketing move that could undermine ticket sales similar to the impact of HBO Max on recent Warner Bros. Pictures’ releases.

As a result, Kills is tracking to generate more than $35 million domestically, according to Universal, far below the $76 million Halloween opening weekend in 2018 — but still ahead of the projected $25 million for No Time to Die in its sophomore weekend. Interestingly, women made up nearly 50% of Halloween moviegoers in 2018.

Meanwhile, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel (20th Century Studios) makes its theatrical debut across more than 3,000 screens — featuring Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. The period actioner is projected to generate more than $8 million in ticket sales.

Other returns include Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($25 million), The Addams Family 2 ($7.3 million) from MGM/UA Releasing, and Disney/Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($2.9 million).

Lionsgate Teams With Fandango and YouTube on Free Streamed Movies Benefit

Lionsgate is presenting “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies,” a program of four Fridays of free movies streaming live on YouTube hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis, to help benefit theater employees furloughed by the COVID-19 crisis.

The studio is mounting the campaign to “honor the communal experience of watching movies in movie theaters and support the people who make those places great with a special program that reminds everyone how much we love going to the cinema,” according to a Lionsgate press release.

Beginning Friday, April 17, and continuing every Friday spanning four consecutive weeks, the studio will team with Fandango and YouTube to livestream four of Lionsgate’s most popular library titles — The Hunger Games, Dirty Dancing, La La Land and John Wick — on Lionsgate’s YouTube page and Fandango’s Movieclips YouTube page.

Host Curtis will share her own movie memories as she is joined by special guest celebrities and YouTube personalities, according to the release. Each week’s night at the movies will feature programming and interactive opportunities for fans, such as real-time fan chats via YouTube Live, live tweeting @Lionsgate and partners, and shared fan engagement opportunities in-show, including movie trivia and movie-themed challenges.

Lionsgate’s initial donation as well as audience and partner donations throughout the event will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping workers throughout the motion picture industry. The event will link to the Foundation’s charitable page so that viewers can donate. The Will Rogers Foundation is currently providing financial assistance to theater employees furloughed by the COVID-19 crisis.

The schedule of free movies that will livestream Fridays at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST is as follows: The Hunger Games April 17, Dirty Dancing April 24, La La Land May 1 and John Wick (age registration required) May 8.

To present the live movie event, in addition to Fandango Lionsgate is joining with exhibition partners such as the National Association of Theatre Owners, AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres, among other regional circuits.

Popcornopolis, purveyors of gourmet popcorn, will support the event with a consumer movie night offer, with 10% of sales donated to the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. SnackNation will curate a movie-themed snack box with a special price and free shipping.

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“There’s nothing that will replace the magic of seeing a movie together with your fellow moviegoers in a theater on a big screen, but this is a chance for America to come together to recreate the experience,” said Joe Drake, chairman, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement. “This is a great chance to show the country’s theatrical employees how much we miss going to their theaters and how much we support them. Jamie Lee Curtis — a woman who literally grew up with the movies and movie theaters — is one of the world’s biggest movie fans, so it’s a real thrill that she’ll be our host for this event. Let’s have some fun watching some classic movies together at home while celebrating moviegoing!”

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“Throughout the 125-year history of the cinema, this is the first time that movie theaters have been shut down across the country,” said John Fithian, president and CEO, National Association of Theatre Owners, in a statement. “Whether it was the Depression, wars, disasters, or local calamities, movie theaters have always been a gathering place where audiences can come together to laugh and be moved, reacting as one, to put their troubles behind them or forget about their hard week at work, and just get lost in the amazing stories on the big screen. Until we can gather again in our nation’s theaters, we’re grateful to Lionsgate for honoring the theatrical moviegoing experience and we are thrilled to join together with them over these next four Fridays, not only to see four classic movies for free, but also to allow fans and celebrities to share their own moviegoing memories. We love that so many people will be talking about what makes going to the movies so unique and memorable.”

Knives Out

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/25/20;
Lionsgate;
Mystery Comedy;
Box Office $163.71 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material.
Stars Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Noah Segan, K Callan, M. Emmet Walsh, Frank Oz.

Director Rian Johnson’s penchant for subverting expectations has manifested itself in the delightful Knives Out, a modernized take on the classic murder mystery format.

The set-up is familiar. In a quirky mansion in the countryside of New England, the maid discovers the body of her wealthy employer — crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) — dead from seemingly cutting his own throat.

As Harlan’s family comes out of the woodwork for the funeral and reading of the will, the police initially rule it a suicide. Yet the case remains open at the behest of private sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), Johnson’s southern-flavored homage to the likes of Columbo and Hercule Peroit. Hired by an anonymous party to ensure all aspects of Harlan’s death are explored, Blanc quickly uncovers dissension within the family, several members of which having had loud arguments with Harlan in the day leading up to his death.

The expertly-crafted, Oscar-nominated screenplay toys with the conventions of the genre, revealing what actually happened within the first 30 minutes or so, then uses the next hour-and-a-half to clue the audience in the fuller context of the events viewers have already seen, thus providing the true focus of the mystery.

Blanc recruits Harlan’s nurse, Marta (Ana de Armas), to aid in his investigation, though she is more aware of what happened than she lets on. A unique physical tic causes her to puke whenever she lies, providing one of the film’s central running gags but also lending a fair amount of tension to the proceedings as Marta has a fair number of secrets she’d rather not help expose either. The pairing of Craig and de Armas must have been agreeable enough for them, as she’s slated to appear in his next James Bond movie. And for Craig, tapped to reprise Blanc investigating new cases in future sequels, the role offers a nice new franchise once he wraps up his tenure as the super spy.

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This is the kind of film that not only invites multiple viewings, but practically demands them. Luckily, the Blu-ray offers a couple of nice options for the rewatch in the form of audio commentaries that dissect the story structure and reveal many of the details layered into the film’s intricate construction. Both are well worth a listen. One is a solo commentary by Johnson, originally released online while the film was still in theaters so fans could listen to it through headphones when they returned to their local cinema to partake in a fresh viewing. The second commentary, recorded for the home video release, features Johnson, cinematographer Steve Yedlin, and actor Noah Segan, who plays one of the cops investigating the murder.

Visually, Knives Out is gorgeous, shot digitally yet rendered to evoke the feeling of classic film, bringing forth textures and color that immerse the viewer in the story’s uneasy atmosphere while making one wish they too could be crawling around that quirky old mansion searching for clues.

The Blu-ray includes the outstanding “Making a Murder,” an eight-part, feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary that provides in-depth details on all aspects of the production, from writing it, to casting it, to making the costumes and sets, and recording the music. It runs a shade under two hours in total.

The “Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder” featurette supplements this a bit, with a six-minute video on how Johnson created the story to be, as he describes it, a Hitchcock thriller within a whodunit. There’s also a 42-minute Q&A from a SAG screening in November that gives the massive cast a chance to sing their own praises while recounting their joy in making the movie.

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The Blu-ray also includes two deleted scenes comprising about five total minutes, with optional commentary by Johnson. These add some interesting subtext to some of the film’s subplots, but it’s easy to understand the decision to omit them from the final cut.

Finally, the disc offers a trove of marketing materials, including trailers and viral ads starring several of the characters in the film.

All-in-all, it’s an impressive package that harkens back to the glory days of DVDs that really gave fans a lot of bang for their buck.

‘Knives Out’ Coming Home on Digital Feb. 7, Disc — Including 4K — Feb. 25

The murder mystery Knives Out, which earned writer-director Rian Johnson an Oscar nom for Best Original screenplay, is heading home.

Lionsgate will release the whodunnit on digital Feb. 7 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and on demand Feb. 25.

The film, which has earned $278 million at the global box office, also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy (Ana de Armas) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy (Daniel Craig). Written, produced, and directed by Johnson (Star Wars: The Last JediLooper), Knives Out also has received awards from AFI, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics, Philadelphia Film Festival, The Hollywood Critics Association and Rotten Tomatoes’ Golden Tomatoes Awards.

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In addition to Craig and de Armas, the film’s ensemble cast includes Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell and Christopher Plummer. It follows the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Plummer). There’s one thing that renowned Detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) knows for sure — everyone in the wildly dysfunctional Thrombey family is a suspect. Blanc must sift through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth.

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Special features include an audio commentary and in-theater commentary by filmmaker Rian Johnson, two deleted scenes, the eight-part “Making a Murder” documentary, the “Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder” featurette, and a Q&A with the director and cast.