When it was announced last week that HALLOWEEN ENDS would shift from theatrical only to a hybrid release on Peacock, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Exhibition is going through a dry spell that rivals the worst days of the pandemic. Not because people don’t want to go to the movies; it’s that the studios simply aren’t releasing enough films.
We knew that the August to September stretch would be rough. We also knew that HALLOWEEN ENDS, arriving on October 14th,would mark the end of this rough patch. So, when Universal shifted the film to day-and-date on Peacock, it felt like a blow to the gut.
However, all may not be lost.
Most people are familiar with awareness and interest, but at The Quorum, we also track where people would prefer to watch a film at home or in a theater. The good news is that 67% of people say they prefer to watch ENDS in a theater.
As you can see above, at 67%, ENDS ranks 4th among all films currently tracked by The Quorum. So far this year, only three films have opened with a “Theater or Home” score above 67%. Those three are JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION (70%), THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER (69%), and DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS (68%).
Looking at just horror films. ENDS is lightyears ahead of the others in the genre. Both NOPE and THE BLACK PHONE had a score of 59%.
So what does that mean? Last year, Universal also released HALLOWEEN KILLS in theaters and on Peacock, and that film opened to $49M. Given the abysmal box office grosses of late, exhibition would be thrilled if ENDS opened near $50M. Could it open above $49M? When we compare the Theater or Home data for the two films, the theater score for ENDS is significantly higher than the 50% score for KILLS.
But, there’s one important caveat. The scores for “in theater” are much higher across the board than they were a year ago when KILLS was released. That’s because more people are comfortable going to a theater than last year. Having said that, proportionally to its era, ENDS has a much higher score than KILLS did against films that arrived last year.
That, however, could change. Given the option to see the film on Peacock, it’s possible the “in theater” score for ENDS will drop. That is something we will be watching in the weeks ahead. But as of now, it still looks as though ENDS will have a sizable footprint in theaters despite going day-and-date.