Halloween B.O. vindicates P.T. Barnum

Michael Myers gets a stranglehold on the box officeBarnum claimed you would never go broke underestimating the taste of the American public, and what more proof do you need that he was right? HALLOWEEN - the misguided, poorly paced, and very dull remake of the 1978 John Carpenter film – exceed expectations by earning an estimated $10-million on Friday. Predictions had pegged the film at earning $20-million over the four-day Labor Day weekend; now the ante has been upped, with expectations targeting $30-35-million.

Presumably, the heavy-duty promotional blitz, coupled with a familiar franchise re-imagined for today’s audience, helped sell the film to audiences, even though hard-core horror fans were not necessarily impressed. For example, E-Splatter.com (which loved Zombie’s THE DEVIL’S REJECTS) panned the film, and the average rating at Internet Movie Database is only 6.8 out of 10.

The success of HALLOWEEN signals the continued split between ticket sales and the expressed preferences of horror fans, who decry Hollywood for churning out soulless sequels and remakes. Presumably, this indicates some kind of cinematic equivalent of Nixon’s “Silent Majority” – people who quietly continue to support horror remakes despite the outrage of vocal critics. Perhaps some think tank could do a government-funded study to pinpoint the schism between the two groups?

UPDATE: As of Monday morning, September 3, Variety pegs the weekend estimate at a record-breaking $31-million.

About the Author

Steve Biodrowski

Cinefantastique's Los Angeles Correspondent from 1987 to 1993 and West Coast Editor from 1993 to 1999. Currently the webmaster of Cinefantastique Online, I also run a website called Hollywood Gothique that covers Halloween Horror and Sci-Fi Cinema Events in the Los Angeles area.

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