‘Halloween’ grabs one of the biggest horror openings ever

It’s hard to say it any other way: Michael Myers made a killing at the box office this weekend.

Universal’s “Halloween,” the 11th film in the horror franchise, beat expectations and earned an estimated $77.5 million in North America this weekend. That’s the best opening ever for the 40-year-old slasher series.

It also marks second biggest debut for a horror film behind last year’s “It,” which had a $123 million opening.

The sequel, which stars Jamie Lee Curtis, adds to a blockbuster October. Earlier this month “Venom” notched a record setting $80 million, the best October debut on the books.

“Halloween” capitalized on its own brand recognition and the recent popularity of the horror genre to bring in such a big weekend. Films such as “Get Out,” “A Quiet Place” and “It” have all surprised Hollywood in recent years with big box office totals.

The slasher film, which is a direct sequel to the 1978 classic, was also a hit with critics as well as audiences. It earned an 80 percent score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

The surprising returns for “Halloween” mark another win for Hollywood, which is up 10.6 percent from the same point last year, according to comScore. This weekend’s box office itself was up a whopping 71.7 percent from the same weekend in 2017.

The rest of the year also looks promising for the film industry. Potential blockbusters such as Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Paramount’s “Bumblebee” and Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” are still on the schedule for the rest of the year.