Why Halloween Is Looking Like a Box Office Graveyard

Daniel Radcliffe in "Horns"

Hollywood’s worst fear is being realized this Halloween.

The ghouls-and-goblins holiday falls on a Friday, an accident of the calendar that will likely result in a box office bloodbath. Moviegoing will be low on the list of people’s entertainment priorities, robbing the exhibition industry of one of the busiest nights of the week.

It marks the second time this year that a major holiday has fallen on a weekend, wreaking havoc at the multiplexes. Fourth of July was celebrated on a Friday, and became the worst box office weekend for the industry since 1987, when adjusted for inflation.

To get out in front of the commercial carnage, studios already have unleashed horror films such as “Annabelle,” “Dracula Untold” and “The Town That Dreaded Sundown.”

Due to debut in theaters Oct. 24 is “Ouija,” a supernatural thriller inspired by the board game, joining a flurry of limited releases of variable quality and commercial prospects already on screens, such as “The Pact II” and “Housebound.”

Complicating issues is the fact that Paramount, once a mainstay of October with its “Paranormal Activity” films, has begun releasing the pictures at different points of the year, with movies such as “The Purge” and “The Conjuring” showing that summer and other times of year can be hospitable for films that rely on scares.

Indeed, Halloween weekend will be a veritable graveyard, with no major horror openings. Open Road will debut edgy crime thriller “Nightcrawler,” Lionsgate is re-releasing “Saw” and Radius-TWC is bowing the Daniel Radcliffe chiller “Horns” (pictured) in theaters (weeks after its VOD release).

In horror movies, the rule of thumb is to steer clear of the attic or the basement. For studios, when Halloween falls on a weekend, debuting a film during the holiday could prove just as deadly.

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  1. Hayden says:

    Hey who is excited for any of the following: Insidious 3 (Trailer sacred the sh*t out of me), The Conjuring 2 (James Wan BACK TO DIRECT!), Sinster 2 (Robert Caryle is amazing writer along with Scott Deckinson back to co-write not direct), Woman in Black 2 (Curious how they’ll do that), The Poltergiust (Sam Raimi in a horror classic!?!!!??), It Follows (So much positive buzz off this one), Resident Evil 6 or 7? (Not sure really but the last one left it open for excitiment), Crimson Peak (Guillermo Del Toro in hoor form as well!!), Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Hopefully the last?), Maggie (Good Dramatic twist to the Horror Genre), Friday The 13th (Jason remade AGAIN!?), Goodnight Mommy (A Shinning-type movie?), Cabin Fever (REMAKE?), The Purge 3 (Finally on the right pace), or The Wolves of Savin Hill? ANYONE? FOR ME, it’s Insidious 3 and Conjuring 2 and it Follows with Crimson Peak on the edge along with Maggie.

  2. Hayden says:

    It’s a horror comedy and it’s actually really good. Radius-TWC are f***ing up again just like Snowpiercer. This could really be a big hit with Radcliffe and with how Oujia didn’t make any want to see it on Halloween. But Harvey again wanted to cut it and again messes up on what people really want.

  3. Pat says:

    I didn’t realise Horns was meant to be a horror, looking at the photo of Radcliffe it looks more like a comedy.

    • Hayden says:

      Horns is actually good tho. Daniel steals it and the story is interesting enough to keep u watching. Just watch out for Aja (the director also directed Mirrors & Hills Have Eyes) and the tone for the whole movie. Those two are its greatest weaknesses.

  4. Mavis says:

    The problem is not release date, but quality. The horror movies this year are all total crap. That’s why they’ll fail. I love horror movies and I can’t get even remotely interested in any of the dreck being put out this year.

    • Hayden says:

      IKr? I have faith Babadonk gets a wide release as for 7500. They really make me excited for them jusrt by the trailers. While movies like Annabelle (Which disappoints), Dracula Untold (More Action than Horror falls flat), Deliver Us From Evil (Fails to deliver scares or common sense with its creepy atmosphere), As Above/ So Below (Fails at all levels Found Fottage can do and more), PA: Marked Ones (Half baked from the very beginning), The Quiet Ones (titles explains the reaction to it), Devil’s Due (Forgettable the moment it ends), Life After Beth (Ideas die within 30 Mins of it), and Haunted House 2 (THe most skip worthy movie of 2014 besides Bad Johnson) are sponsered like crazy. While movies like Only Lovers Left Alive, VHS: Viral, ABC’s of Death 2, Horns, Housebound, Afflicted, and Honeymoon (all reviewed better than most of the movies I listed) are sweeped under the rug. If you haven’t seen those, do now!

      • Hayden says:

        Also why wait for films like 7500 & Cooties? If they are really as bad as I am reading right now, just release them on VOD and get it over with! and stop making Wrong Turns! It was over after the FIRST ONE! Also I, Frankenstien should have been done better as for Tusk and The Sacrament. Oculus & Big Bad Wolves are on my top horrors along with Horns for 2014. That’s sad compared to last year.

    • George Ebersole says:

      Yeah, I think Variety stated that Ouija didn’t test well, and their own review said it fell flat in a lot of departments. To me there’s a scene / joke in the film based on a story that I posted on the net years ago. It’s since become public domain (so to speak), but if the writing team were fishing for ideas off the net, then that should tell you the level of quality control that went into this film.

  5. LOL says:

    America’s proclivity for crap movies is even more frightening.

    • Hayden says:

      I agree. LOLZ why isn’t Horns or Snowpiercer on the wide release and studios keep giving us crap like Transformers or Ouija? Snowpiercer would have stayed on the TOP Ten for WEEKS!

  6. jschaubert says:

    Wow, talk about hyperbole in speech. “wreaking havoc at the multiplexes” “To get out in front of the commercial carnage” “an accident of the calendar that will likely result in a box office bloodbath.” So basically a not very profitable box office weekend will be equated with mass murder. Nice writing!

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