Does no one want to open a film on October 6th?
When KRAVEN THE HUNTER was pushed off the October 6th date to 2024, it left a hole in the release schedule. Should KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON take that spot?
A decade ago, Warner Bros. reinvented the first weekend in October by releasing GRAVITY on October 4th. Everyone expected the tentpole to land in the summer or the end-of-year holidays, but distribution chief Dan Fellman opted for the first frame in October, a previously unremarkable weekend.
The film opened to $56M, breaking the record for the largest October opening. From there, a weekend was born. Suddenly, the first weekend in October became one of the most coveted dates of the year.
Two years later, THE MARTIAN opened to $54M. VENOM broke the record again with an $80M debut in 2018. JOKER established a new high-water mark a year later with $96M, while VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE became the second title to open above $90M.
In fact, back in 2018, A STAR IS BORN debuted to $43M, opposite VENOM. That’s a combined $123M between the two of them. So yes, this is a big weekend.
Last year no one expected LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE to match the previous historical highs, but the 2022 release schedule was catch as catch can. There weren’t enough movies, so it was easy to temporarily set aside prior distribution and performance norms.
There’s reason to believe that October 6th will remain abandoned this year. Paramount has KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON opening in limited release on that date, with an anticipated expansion two weeks later. But should MOON move up and either open wide on the 6th or expand wide on that weekend?
That’s not necessarily a bad idea, except as it stands now, no other wide releases are scheduled for October 20th, when MOON is currently expected to go wide. So there’s no big incentive to move earlier, especially amid two strikes that are limiting promotion.
But this speaks to a larger problem that we thought was in our rear-view mirror. Once again, there is a dearth of new films. And it will be especially acute in October.