By Sarah Sluis
When Halloween falls on a weekend, the box office usually suffers, with the exception of horror movies. The choice between trick-or-treating and seeing a movie is pretty obvious for most people. To max out their revenue during this slow weekend, even the two big horror movies went wide last weekend. Saw VI and Paranormal Activity should continue to see healthy grosses this weekend, as audiences get into the Halloween spirit.
Michael Jackson, of course, does have creepy song "Thriller" in his repertoire, and This Is It (3,481 theatres) includes a graveyard, zombie-walking sequence set to the song. The concert documentary kicked off its two-week engagement on Wednesday, earning $7.4 million domestically its opening day. With no other wide releases opening this weekend, This Is It may pick up some extra business to supplement its solid, but not stellar opening.
Opening on just three screens, The House of the Devil is a retro '80's throwback, taking place in the time period "for no apparent reason other than writer-director-editor Ti West doesn't want mobile phones to gum up his feeble plot." Devoid of scares, "it borrows literally from a well-known horror film made by a guy in a Swiss jail." So for those of you who have seen Rosemary's Baby, this movie may be a pass.
Director Jared Hess follows up Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre with Gentlemen Broncos, which is receiving a quiet theatrical release in two locations. The movie's "unrelenting strangeness" may make it better suited to a DVD release, where those that enjoy the movie can recommend it to their like-minded friends.
A "bloated follow-up" to the cult hit, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (68 theatres) also seems more suited to the DVD market. Critic Michael Rechtshaffen predicted it won't turn a profit for its distributor "until the Saints go marching back into the video store." Its mix of violence and comedy comes across as a cartoonish "Godfather III meets The Three Stooges," so those curious about the combination should check it out.
Based on the true story of a phenotypically black child born to white Afrikaners, Skin features such a striking genetic anomaly our critic Ethan Alter felt it would be more powerful as a documentary. While he praises Sophie Okonedo's performance, "there's an artificiality to the proceedings" that "a documentary would likely have been able to circumvent."
On Monday, we'll see if This Is It held on through the weekend, and if the horror movies are able to draw crowds in spite of the wealth of off-screen spooky options.