Too bad Universal decided on a day-and-date release
Way back in July, the very first post published on The Quorum was about HALLOWEEN KILLS. Back then, we were lamenting the fact that the film was tracking well below its paygrade. Both awareness and interest were much lower than one would expect for a film of its pedigree.
As we pointed out then, the last installment of HALLOWEEN opened to $76M in 2018. That film still has the 3rd largest horror opening ever, and it is the highest-grossing horror film to open in the month of October. So, yeah, KILLS has big shoes to fill.
Despite the low tracking, it was still shocking when Universal announced on September 9th that it would be shifting KILLS from pure theatrical to a simultaneous release on its Peacock streaming service. This was especially surprising in light if the fact that a week earlier, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN RINGS resoundingly proved that audiences are seeing movies in theaters again.
On top of that, horror has always been a theatrical-forward, communal genre. With QUIET, CANDYMAN, and THE CONJURING: TDMMDI, horror films were an important part of the early theatrical recovery. It was a move that continues to confound.
Three weeks later, the decision seems even more unfortunate given that since that announcement, KILLS has been on a Bryce Harper-worthy ascendance.
We still consider A QUIET PLACE PART II (dark yellow) to be the gold standard for horror. That film opened to $48M back in May when far fewer theaters were open and the box office was just beginning its recovery. But, as noted above, one would expect KILLS to perform at a similarly elevated level.
Back in July (yellow dashed line), when KILLS (brown)was four months from release, awareness was on the rise but had yet to break out of the 28 to 32 range. It was barely above CANDYLAND (light yellow) and well below QUIET, which was nearing 40 at the same distance from release.
For quite a while, KILLS continued to hover in the low 30’s until this month. But boy has it taken off since then. Today, awareness has shot up seven points in less than two weeks. It now sits at 42, just a hair behind QUIET when it opened. And, with another two weeks before release, there’s plenty of time for KILLS to rise above QUIET.
As you can see below, we’re seeing the same phenomenal rise on the interest side. Back in early July, the interest score for KILLS was at 5.0. Today it’s up to 5.6 and is charging towards the rarefied air of 6.0.
On top of that, interest in seeing the movie in a theater (rather than at home) has climbed since our July profile. Today more than half the people interested in seeing the film want to see it in a theater.
That may not seem so great, but most people would rather watch a film at home. Only a few movies are above 50% for a theater. As you can see, KILLS ranks 5th among all films being tracked by The Quorum for theater viewership.
Back in July, KILLS looked surprisingly soft. But in the past few weeks, the film has begun to reflect its earlier promise. It is now tracking on par with QUIET, as it should. Not only are awareness and interest on the rise, but the desire to watch in a theater is strong.
Universal’s day-and-decision didn’t make much sense when it was announced earlier this month. Now it looks like the studio will be leaving some theatrical dollars on the table.