Michael Myers has returned from the dead to slaughter all box office competition. The all-new MGM/Weinstein version of HALLOWEEN has exploded for an estimated $10.5M on Friday, and it’s headed for a 3-day of $30M and a spectacular 4-day Labor Day weekend of $35.775M.
The success isn’t a complete surprise. Director Rob Zombie has scored successes with low budget slasher flicks HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES ($12.6M domestic) and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS ($17M cume), and, after seeing the heavy metal rocker’s version of the 1978 John Carpenter classic, Bob and Harvey Weinstein signed Zombie to a 2-picture deal. Plus, as I reported in my Final Weekend Tracking column, HALLOWEEN opened with Total Awareness of 82% in the industry’s audience tracking along with 36% Definite Interest and a First Choice of 13%. I suggested that this could be a 4-quadrant hit since it opened the day with an 11% First Choice with Males 25 Plus and an 10% First Choice with Females Plus. I wrote that, “There will be a wave of nostalgia, but it won’t be a tsunami.” I predicted $25M+, but there is now a tsunami warning in effect.
HALLOWEEN will easily become the all-time #1 4-day Labor Day weekend champion, but who could have guessed that it would come in 44% above previous record-holder Transporter 2?
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Much of the horror community theorized that The Weinstein Company forced Halloween director Rob Zombie to film a series of reshoots. Zombie has disputed this claim on his blog, and now the musician turned horror director tells MTV about the alternative ending that could have been, and the real reason for the reshoots.
“And the weirdest thing about movies is it’s all planned out, but you just don’t know. Sometimes, things that you really think will work work, and sometimes they’re like ‘eh’,” said Zombie. “We were kind of rushed because, filming in Pasadena, it’s like 11:00 and – boom! – they shut you downâ€¦the cops would step in front of the cameras,” Zombie told us. “We were shut down and I thought ‘Well, maybe we have it.’ Then I started editing, and it didn’t feel like I had the end of the movie. Luckily, I had the luxury of going back.”
The original ending came after Myers reached into Loomis’ car and pulls out Laurie Strode. Sheriff Brackett and several other policemen pull up in their cars. Loomis attempted to talk to Michael, urging the cops to hold their fire. He blamed himself for Michael’s madness, and convinced Myers to drop the knife and release Laurie. Loomis embraces Laurie as Myers takes a step forward and the police unleash reactionary gunfire. The old ending will be included on the eventual special edition DVD release.
“Now by the end of the movie, on those final frames you’re going to think ‘Wow, that is Michael’s sister,” Zombie said of the new finale. “The other way, it was more like she was a victim being rescued. Now, she becomes her own person.”
Also of note, HorrorMovieADay took a look at the differences between the workprint that leaked online last week, and the theatrical version of the film. Here are some of the interesting bits:
- In the workprint, there is an additional scene of young Michael with Deborah at the institution, where he expresses his need to “get out of here”. When he learns he cannot leave, he says “Then I have nothing left to say.”
- In the workprint, an orderly and his friend harass and then rape a female inmate in Michael’s room. Michael ignores them until they begin playing with his masks (this pays off the line about him not liking it when people touch his things). He kills them both, gets their keys, and escapes. This also explains why Michael would kill someone who is seen as his friend in the scenes prior. This gives him a moralistic reason to be killed.
- When the nurse looks at the photo of Michael and “Boo”, there is an additional line where she alludes to Michael being ugly. This provides more of a motive for her killing than is present in the theatrical version.
- The Workprint showed the scene where Michael finds and removes the tombstone in the graveyard.
- Bob’s death is completely different. In the workprint, he is killed in his van when he goes out to get beer. In the theatrical, he is killed in the exact same way he was killed in the 1978 film.
- In the theatrical print, Loomis buys a gun, the scene where Brackett explains how he knows who Laurie Strode’s real family is (the workprint never explained how she came to be with that family or how Loomis would know where to find her), and the whole sequence where Loomis runs up to the House at the end (ie the new ending).
Why exactly would anyone want to remake a classic film? With so much to live up to, times five, due to the time tested nostalgia factor, there is almost no conceivable way you can trump the expectations. But if there was one person that I would trust to remake Halloween, it would probably be Rob Zombie. House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects were a call back to the classic horror films of the 1970′s. It’s almost like Zombie, and his collected crew, are able to channel Tobe Hooper and the directors of that era. It’s more about mood than anything else. It’s that creepy unsettling feeling that you feel. A mixture of the set design, camera direction, casting, and soundtrack. This is why I knew Rob Zombie would scare the living hell out of us again, with one of horror’s classic characters. But I was wrong.
Zombie’s re-imagining of the John Carpenter 1978 classic went wrong in conception. The concept is simple, and a good one at first glance: Who is Michael Myers? We got a small glimpse of his childhood origin in the original film, but Zombie’s vision was to expand upon this mythology. Because Myers was the key to the first film’s success. Sure, you had Jamie Lee Curtis’ lungs, and Carpenter’s now classic score, but the kids came because of the man in the mask.
In Zombie’s new film we learn why Myers wears the mask, and we even learn why he doesn’t speak. We learn a lot about Michael Myers, and that is problem #1. The reason why we enjoyed his character in the original was because he was such a mystery. It was what we didn’t know, what we didn’t see, what we were forced to make up in our heads.
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Michael Myers is ready to slash his way to an all-time 4-day Labor Day weekend record, and, by Monday, he’ll pass Jigsaw to become the 4th-biggest grossing movie “killer” in modern box office history.
The original 1978 John Carpenter film HALLOWEEN is, for my money, the scariest of all scary movies. Donald Pleasance is just over-the-top enough when the nurse says, “Don’t you think it would be better if you referred to ‘it’ as a ‘him’?, and, as Doctor Loomis, he responds, “If you say so.” And the moment where Jamie Lee Curtis says, “I killed him” and the little boy
says, “You can’t kill the boogie man” is classic.
No official reviews available for Rob Zombie’s new version of HALLOWEEN (MGM/Weinstein). Quint from ‘Aint It Cool News says that user reviews from screenings and bootlegs are love-hate 50/50. He also, correctly, points out that the Weinsteins are thrilled with Zombie, and Bob and Harvey have signed him to a 2-picture deal.
That being said, it’s always dangerous to remake classic, and HALLOWEEN is a bit of a high wire act, but this movie is going to open huge. I reviewed tracking with a well-placed source today, and even they were surprised at the apparent strength. This slasher pic isn’t just scoring with Under 25′s. The 25 Plus crowd may be showing up.
SAW III (Lionsgate), which opened to $33.6M last October, is a very good comparable. The most recent chapter of the twisted James Wan/Leigh Whannell horror series was stronger in almost every category on its opening day than HALLOWEEN is now, but ‘ole Mike Myers is giving Jigsaw a run for his money.
The Lionsgate sequel had Un-Aided Awareness of 22% compared to a very strong 13% for HALLOWEEN. The Rob Zombie remake actually leads SAW III in Total Awareness 82%-73%, but that’s a function of the legendary status of the original. The 3rd movie featuring Jigsaw leads in Definite Interest 46%-36% and in the First Choice column 20%-13%, but HALLOWEEN has a First Choice with Males 25 Plus of 11% and Females 25 Plus of 10%.
Is a 4-quadrant horror movie possible? To some degree, yes, but this is Rob Zombie (THE DEVIL’S REJECTS), and this picture has a strong R rating. Mom may have gotten a great scare out of Jamie Lee and Mike 30 years ago, but she’s not necessarily going to bring the kids to the mall to see this one. There will be a wave of nostalgia, but it won’t be a tsunami.
I’m targeting $23M-$26M for HALLOWEEN, which would be a record-breaking 4-day Labor Day weekend, surpassing 2005′s TRANSPORTER 2 from Fox. It will easily post the best opening weekend in the 8-film history of the franchise, and, interestingly, Michael Myers will pass Jigsaw to become the all-time 4th-best grossing movie killer/slasher. (Jigsaw will almost certainly retake #4 on the list sometime this fall with Saw IV opening on October 26.)
The tracking for BALLS OF FURY (Rogue Releasing) is actually stronger than its opening Wednesday of $1.7M. Its Un-Aided Awareness was 5%, which is a bit of a commercial pulse, but there were no long lines at America’s multiplexes on opening day. Critics are not being kind, but that’s not exactly a surprise. BALLS has a 29% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and it’s 37% positive at MetaCritic.com, but they didn’t make this movie for the Ebert & Roeper crowd. This is the BEERFEST or DODGEBALL of ping-pong. That’s a huge range. BEERFEST opened with a 3-day of $7M back in 2006 and went on to gross a mere $19.1M. Meanwhile, DODGEBALL opened to $30M and became a phenomenon with $114.3M domestic.
The most recent dumb sport-themed movie was HOT ROD starring Andy Samberg. Despite debuting on over 2,000 screens, it managed only $5.3M on opening weekend, and, to-date, it has registered just $13.6M in domestic ticket sales. BALLS OF FURY is showing up dramatically stronger than HOT ROD in industry tracking with a 67% Total Aware vs. 42%, 34% Definite Interest vs. 25% and it’s got a 10% First Choice vs. 0% for HOT ROD.
My hunch is that Rogue’s soft Wednesday opening isn’t a great predictor of the weekend performance for BALLS OF FURY ($1.7M on Wednesday could be pointing toward a 4-day of $10M). Instead, I’m looking for a marginally better 4-day Labor Day weekend of $12-$15M, which would actually make it one of the All-Time Top 5 4-day Labor Day weekends (still not impressive). BALLS will likely turn in a 6-day (Wed thru Sun) of $15M -$18M.
That brings us to the hardly-marketed DEATH SENTENCE (Fox), which has been screened for virtually nobody. SAW co-creator James Wan is the director of his Kevin Bacon film, and those in the industry will likely view this as strike 2″ for him. (The first “strike” was Universal’s spring horror flick EAD SILENCE.)
The tracking says that only 42% of the movie-going public has ever heard of the film, and with Definite Interest of just 30% and a First Choice number of 4%, it won’t take long for this one to show up at the local Blockbuster. I’m not looking for more than $3M-$6M in its opening 4 days.
For the complete Box Office Tracking report go to FantasyMoguls.
A workprint of Rob Zombie’s Halloween has been leaked onto the internet. TheÂ copy turned up on several bit torrent websites just four days before the film’s theatrical movie premiere on Friday.
Hopefully Halloween won’t suffer the same fate as Eli Roth’s Hostel: Part II which had an unfinished work-print leak online a week before its theatrical release. In the case of Hostel, a week was all that was needed to convince the online horror community not to spend their cash at the box office. On the other hand, an early leak of Michael Moore’s Sicko lead to strong word of mouth, which many people speculate, may have ended up helping the film’s box office (however there is no way to prove anything either way). Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille also ended up on the torrent sites a week before the film’s theatrical release after a nationwide sneak preview screening. Most people agree that this leak didn’t hurt the film due to its targeted family demographic. Movie Piracy seems to be most effective against the box office in films which target a teen demographic.
It’s also interesting to note that both Sicko and Halloween have ties to The Weinsteins, while Sicko and Hostel 2 have ties to Lionsgate. It’ll be interesting to find out exactly where these work-prints were leaked, but I have a feeling that they might all be connected. Again, I have no proof, but I’m guessing there is a leak somewhere in the chain of post production of all three of these films.
At Comic-Con, Rob Zombie premiered some new footage for his re-imagining of Halloween. And now a new trailer is available online. There are not many horror remakes that have me excited, but I have faith that Zombie has done it right. By the time that the music hits at the conclusion of the trailer, my heart is beating at a rapid pace. Check out the new trailer after the jump.
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Reshoots is usually not a good thing. Word came in this weekend via BD that Rob Zombie has been hard at work filming new scenes including a new ending for his Halloween remake/prequel. Apparently they spend seven days to film the six new death sequences which are said to give the film a “serious boost in violence, gore and bloodshed” and a new ending which is only described as “Gruesome”.
Hmmm, well I guess I can’t complain about that. Plus wasn’t one of the bathroom attack sequence one of the best sequences from Snakes on a Plane? That was also part of a series of reshoots for the same purpose. So may-be filming some extra material to harden up a horror film is a good sign. We’ll have to wait and see. Yeah, Snakes on a Plane is probably not the best example…
Rouge Pictures has decided to move Balls of Fury from September 14th, to August 31st 2007. The comedy was originally set to go head to head with Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Jet Li’s War. The film will now go up against Mr. Bean’s Holiday and Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I think they may have been better off in the previous release date.
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