LOS ANGELES (AP) – Forty years after its first appearance in theaters, Michael Myers still attracts large audiences for a good scare.
Universal Pictures said on Sunday that "Halloween" received an estimated $ 77.5 million in theater ticket sales from North America.
He won first place at the box office with the second highest horror opening of all time, behind "It" last year.
It also marked the second highest opening in October, behind the $ 80.3 million "Venom" launch earlier this month.
The studio also says it's the opening of the biggest movie in history with a female protagonist over 55, star Jamie Lee Curtis.
David Gordon Green directed "Halloween", which brings back Curtis as Laurie Strode and Nick Castle as Michael Myers and, essentially, ignores the events of the other sequels and derivations, apart from the original by John Carpenter.
The revisions have been very positive for the new release, with an 80 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B + Cinema Score for audiences that were mostly higher (59 percent out of 25) and male (53 percent). Internationally, "Halloween" earned $ 14.3 million in 23 markets.
Blumhouse, the store behind "Get Out" and many other horror movies on a modest budget, co-produced "Halloween" with Miramax. It cost only $ 10 million to do.
"You take nostalgia for Halloween, especially with the return of Jamie Lee Curtis, and you combine that with the Blumhouse brand and its contemporary currency in the genre, and it became a ridiculously powerful combination at the box office this weekend, "said Jim Orr, president of national distribution of Universal.
There are 10 days left for the holiday, including another weekend, the studio hopes that "Halloween" will enjoy a much longer life than the typical horror movies that, in general, are significantly reduced after the first weekend.
"Halloween" was enough for the comic book "Venom" to come out of the first place and be placed in third place. On its third weekend in theaters, it raised $ 18.1 million, which raised its national total to $ 171.1 million.
Meanwhile, "A Star Is Born" remained in second place on its third weekend with $ 19.3 million. The drama of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga has raised $ 126.4 million from the theaters of North America and is reaching to break $ 200 million worldwide on Sunday.
The biopic of Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong "First Man" fell to fifth place in his second weekend, earning $ 8.6 million, 46 percent less than his release.
It was a particularly busy week at the box office, as critically acclaimed films such as the young adult adaptation "The Hate U Give" and Robert Redford's swan song "The Old Man & The Gun" expanded throughout the country after a few weeks of limited release.
"The Hate U Give", now in 2,303 locations, ranked sixth with $ 7.5 million, and "The Old Man & The Gun" ranked 10th with $ 2.1 million from the 802 locations.
A series of well-received indies also made their debut. At the top was Jonah Hill's directorial debut, "Mid90s," which opened in four theaters with $ 249,500 (or an average of $ 62,375 per theater).
Melissa McCarthy's "Can You Ever Forgive Me," about the literary counterfeiter Lee Israel, raised $ 150,000 in five locations.
October has never been a particularly strong box office month, but 2018 has helped change that. The weekend rose almost 72 percent over the same weekend last October and the year to date has risen almost 11 percent.
"The industry is in an important role now," said comScore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "Audiences are responding to big and small movies right now, they can have their cinematic fast food and an excellent dinner at the same time, the experience of going to the movies is as viable and relevant as ever."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday to Sunday in theaters in the United States and Canada, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers are also included from Friday to Sunday. The final national figures will be released on Monday.
1. "Halloween", $ 77.5 million ($ 14.3 million internationally).
2. "One star is born", $ 19.3 million ($ 22.8 million internationally).
3. "Poison", $ 18.1 million ($ 32.3 million internationally).
4. "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween", $ 9.7 million ($ 6.2 million internationally).
5. "First Man", $ 8.6 million ($ 13.4 million internationally).
6. "The Hate U Give", $ 7.5 million.
7. "Small foot", $ 6.6 million ($ 14 million international).
8. "Night school", $ 5 million ($ 1.5 million international).
9. "Bad Times At The El Royale", $ 3.3 million ($ 2.5 million international).
10. "The old man and the gun", $ 2 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday to Sunday at international theaters (excluding the United States and Canada), according to comScore:
1. "Poison", $ 32.3 million.
2. "A star is born", $ 22.8 million.
3. "Gutenberg Project", $ 14.7 million.
4. "Halloween", $ 14.3 million.
5. "small foot", $ 14 million.
6. "First Man", $ 13.4 million.
7. "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween", $ 6.2 million.
8. "The spy who left me", $ 5.7 million.
9. "Lost, found", $ 5.3 million.
10. "Hichki", $ 4 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp .; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp .; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc .; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co .; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc .; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors, including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp .; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc .; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP film writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr