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Box Office: ‘Halloween’ Eyes Scary-Good $50 Million Opening

Forty years after narrowly escaping Michael Myers wrath, Laurie Strode is heading back to theaters to face off against the creepy masked murderer once again.

Universal’s R-rated slasher, which was produced by Blumhouse and Miramax, is eyeing a start around $45 million when it opens on Oct. 19, though that number could shoot even higher as buzz builds around the spooky sequel. Some estimates show it could make over $55 million during the three-day period. That would be massively successful given that it was made for just $10 million. It would also rank as a series-best launch for the “Halloween” franchise. The 2007 “Halloween” reboot has the biggest debut to date with $26 million.

Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role for the fourth time as Laurie Strode, the former babysitter who is now a grandmother. Nick Castle also returns as Michael Myers, the deranged serial killer who readies for a final showdown with Strode on Halloween night. Though there have been 11 films in the “Halloween” franchise, this go-round is a direct sequel to the original 1978 movie.

While the last few iterations in the series have been critically reviled, “Halloween” premiered to a largely positive reception at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. It currently holds an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes — a huge improvement from the earlier movies that averaged ratings well below 50%.

David Gordon Green, the filmmaker behind Seth Rogen’s “Pineapple Express” and “Stronger” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany, took on directing duties. Green co-wrote the script with frequent collaborator Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley.

“Halloween” shouldn’t have much direct competition that weekend as the only other title launching wide is Aviron’s “Serenity.” The neo-noir thriller is tracking for a single-digit debut around $8 million. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway star in the film, which was written and directed by Steven Knight (“Dirty Pretty Things”).

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