Like its predecessor Halloween Kills, the slasher sequel Halloween Ends was given a day-and-date release by premiering in both theaters and on the streaming service Peacock. While the film did open pretty strong in theaters, the argument can be made that it’d have had an even better turnout if it was not also made available to watch at home. It’s a subject known all too well by filmmaker Christopher Landon, whose film Freaky was made available for streaming less than a month after hitting theaters in 2020.
“Ooooooh I feel another rant coming on: Today it’s the Day & Date release strategy for Halloween Ends,” Landon posted to Twitter the day of the film’s premiere. “Stop doing this. Please. It doesn’t work. Studios: stop gambling with filmmakers and their movies to try and prop up your fledgling streaming services. This happened to me on Freaky and it destroyed us. We worked SO HARD to make a fun movie. Blood sweat and tears. Months away from our families. And for what? They love to use the term: ‘two bites of the apple’ but that’s just another way of saying ‘we’re gonna use your movie as a Guinea pig’ for our streaming service.”
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He added, “Sorry. I begged the studio not to do this. Either circle the wagons and protect it for theatrical or just go all in on streaming. Don’t split hairs. At least the Halloween folks were made whole. We got hosed. So yeah…bitter subject. PTSD. Dear studios: stop trying to suck two d*cks at the same time. Honor the sanctity of the theatrical experience. End rant.”
Freaky was directed by Landon who co-wrote the script with Michael Kennedy. Putting a spin on the body-switching gimmick popularized by Freaky Friday, Landon’s Freaky stars Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn in a story about a teenage girl who switches places with a middle-aged man who happens to be a serial killer. The horror-comedy film was praised by critics, though it grossed just $9 million in domestic movie theaters against a $6 million budget.
Halloween Ends Opens Strong, But Not as High as Expected
Halloween Ends will reportedly top $43 million with its opening weekend. These numbers are very good for an R-rated horror film, though they still fall short of the initial projections which foresaw the movie surpassing $50 million. It’s also down from last year’s Halloween Kills which opened to $49.4 million.
Streaming availability could certainly affect ticket sales, but it also doesn’t help that Halloween Ends has been pummeled with bad reviews. The film takes a departure from the familiar formula of the franchise, and while some viewers found this interesting, many have been quite critical. It stands with a 40% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and one look at social media is also a clear indicator that many franchise fans aren’t too thrilled with the movie either.
Halloween Ends is playing in theaters and on Peacock.