Movie projector: 'The Final Destination,' 'Halloween II' splitting horror audience
A game of movie-release chicken will play out this weekend as Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. open competing horror flicks "The Final Destination" and "Halloween II."
Warner in March moved back the release of "Final Destination" by two weeks to Aug. 28 after Weinstein scheduled "Halloween" for that date. Both studios are aiming to repeat the performance of the first movie in the "Halloween" series relaunch, which opened to $26.4 million when it debuted Aug. 31, 2007.
Neither are likely to reach that mark -- the industry consensus is that both studios will eat into each others' potential ticket sales. Both films are likely to gross in the mid- to high-teen millions, with the one that does better potentially breaking the $20-million mark at the domestic box office.
Pre-release audience polling shows that "Final Destination" is generating more interest among young women, while the gorier "Halloween II," directed by Rob Zombie, is likely to draw more males. Warner's movie likely has the advantage, however, since 53% of its theaters will play the movie in 3D, which carries a ticket price surcharge.
"Halloween II" could be more of a boon for Weinstein Co.'s bottom line, however, as that movie cost about $15 million to produce. The production budget for "Final Destination" was $40 million.
Neither has a lock on first place at the box office this weekend, however, as Weinstein Co.'s "Inglourious Basterds" will probably decline about 50% from its strong $38-million opening and sell just under $20 million of tickets. There is a possibility, however, that "Halloween" and "Basterds" could hurt each others' bottom line since both are drawing mostly young, male audiences. Recent marketing for "Basterds" has attempted to draw more older moviegoers and women, however.
Also opening this weekend is Focus Features' "Taking Woodstock," from director Ang Lee. It played in two theaters Wednesday in Los Angeles and New York City and earned a solid $11,600. It's playing in only 1,393 theaters this weekend and is expected to earn around $5 million, a relatively soft start given the movie's nearly $30-million production budget.
-- Ben Fritz
Left photo: Tyler Mane in "Halloween II." Credit: Marsha LaMarca / Weinstein Co. Right photo: Bobby Campo and Shantel VanSantern in "The Final Destination." Credit: Jim Sheldon / New Line Cinema.