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After trick, Universal to get box office treat in 'Halloween' reboot

NBCUniversal Media LLC's Universal Pictures will look to scare audiences through the turnstiles with an updated installment in the Halloween franchise after "First Man" crash landed in the prior weekend.

Forecasters expect the studio's spookier fare to slash its way to profitability. At just a $10 million budget, Variety and Deadline Hollywood agree that the new "Halloween" could pass $70 million over the Oct. 19 weekend, and Box Office.com predicts the film will collect $80 million.

SNL ImageSource: Universal Pictures

A reunion of original talent is driving interest in the new title with a familiar name. The film brings Jamie Lee Curtis back to her original role as a 40-years-older Laurie Strode. John Carpenter, director of the original 1978 film, will return as executive producer.

The top end of forecasts would slaughter the record for the Halloween franchise by three times. The 2007 reboot collected $26.4 million at opening against a $20.0 million budget, hacking off $32.7 million in profits, according to data from Kagan, a media industry research firm inside S&P Global Market Intelligence. The most recent effort in 2009, "Halloween II," opened to a respectable $16.3 million against a $15.7 million budget, but slumped to just $54.5 million in total revenue.

Not helping the 2009 effort was an abysmal reception from audiences and critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes, but the review aggregator gave the new Halloween film an 81% "Certified Fresh" rating, as of 9:10 a.m. ET, Oct. 19. The original "Halloween" is the only franchise film with a higher rating.

Universal Pictures would love to scare up a success after the prior weekend, which saw "First Man" fly under expectations. The title collected just $16 million against a $60 million budget, according to Variety. That was against forecasts as high as $25 million. BoxOffice.com expects it to collect $10.3 million in its first holdover weekend.

The debut film will not meet much competition in general. The same forecaster expects the Lady Gaga-led musical drama "A Star is Born" to surpass comic hero "Venom" in their third weekend, with each near $19 million.

SNL Image