Halloween Ends tops the Australian box office

Horror abounds at Australian cinemas as multiplexes get their pumpkins in a row for the most gruesome time of year.

For Australians, 2022 is basically The Year of Elvis. It is now number nine in the US release figures with $240m, followed by the UK with $48m and Australia with $33.4m. The international total is $458m.

Read: Elvis comes to the NFSA

Read: Elvis by Baz Luhrmann review: it’s one for the money

We left Wog Boys Forever with impressive figures – $822,000 in the first week, which adds up to $1.85m with previews – last week, wondering whether it could spread. The answer so far seems to be ‘yes, sort of’, as it dropped 49% in a week, to add $416,000, yielding a take of $2.42m so far. It remains in the ‘hopeful but could do better’ basket at the moment.

Documentary Franklin is hanging in for week six, to make $249,000 so far, while The Lost City of Melbourne has taken one more week to reach $198,000. Maybe audiences are getting too much real life from the news as the climate strikes the east coast to show us the future in a giant puddle. 

Read: The Lost City of Melbourne documents demolished ‘ghost cinemas’

Amsterdam, with Margot Robbie as the Australian connection, is not holding up, losing 51% in week two, leaving it with $1.71m. Period comedy thriller is not an enticing genre at the moment.

Macedonian-Australian writer/director Goran Stolevski’s You Won’t Be Alone has taken $86,000 in four weeks. It is on five screens, and gained one last weekend. Words fail me. 

Read: Goran Stolevski, You Won’t Be Alone director interview

Read: Australian indy horror shaking up genre

However, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, with Australian director Sophie Hyde, has made $3.23m in eight weeks, though it is running out of stream as exhibitors dropped 29 screens to leave it with 40, off which it made $40,000. 

Read: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande: a sex work film that works

Who wins the weekend?

With the school holidays over, the exhibition world is pretty sluggish. Only three films cleared more than $1m, to collect just under $4m, compared to four films and $7m the weekend before.

Franchise finale Halloween Ends pushed in to make $1.46m in the top slot, while scare flick Smile came next with $1.35m to provide a double practice run for the real ceremony of Halloween. 

Don’t Worry Darling lost 46% to reach $1.16m in the third slot. We can imagine the audience uniting for its first week triumph with a creepy deconstruction of suburban life, and then skipping off for more overt chopping and scaring. Definitely a minor festival of fear.

Read: Don’t Worry Darling reviewed

Tickets to Paradise continues to take its mature audiences in week five, to make a very solid $14.24m to signal the return of the grown-ups in the foyer. At the other end of the spectrum, DC League of Super-Pets slipped by 71% in its week five, but exhibitors don’t care because it has made $17.33m so far.

Both these films arrived with Bodies Bodies Bodies, a comedy horror film from Sony, which was spurned by critics. It took $891,000 and dropped 52% last weekend on account of the screens halved to ten, which allowed it to make $6,300. 


Amsterdam has made $30m around the world, despite a budget of $130m, plus advertising costs. Accountants turn into a pillar of salt over this kind of result. Bodies Bodies Bodies has made $22m internationally, despite accolades at Austin’s indie festival SXSW, and strong review support as listed by Rotten Tomatoes. No-one seems to have any clue about the budget, but it has modest and passionate written all over it. 

Meanwhile, Halloween Ends opened in the top US slot with $66m, while Smile decorated its third weekend with $20m to create a total of $114m. So we are in lockstep, although the US results are running about twice as well when we factor in population. 

After a month, The Woman King has made $122m around the world, with $96m from the US.

In the weekend before last, the UK box office was led by Smile with $3.1m, followed by The Woman King with $2.35m and Don’t Worry Darling with $1.84m. Ticket to Paradise comes next, and then Amsterdam.

China is dominated by the same three patriotic films we covered last week, while the top ten has no foreign films in it at all. From January to mid-May, the South Korean market was always topped by an American film, but the run stopped fairly abruptly.

Top Gun: Maverick won two weeks at the end of June, followed by Thor: Love and Thunder for a week. Since then, seven highly commercial local films have dominated in a mix of crime, espionage, science fiction, war and comedy. Confidential Assignment 2: International has held the cinemas in thrall with action comedy for the last month.

Next weekend

Barbarian will arrive on wide release, decorated by its MA+ rating. A low budget horror film – enter the ever-popular young woman in a creepy house with tunnels leading from the basement – it has made $65m in the US off a budget of $6.4m. Written and directed by American comedian Zach Creggar, it is distributed by 20th Century Studios for Walt Disney.

Fans will be delighted to discover the release of DC Superhero film Black Adam, an anti-hero derived from the Shazam! storyworld. It is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, a Spanish-American with strong chops in horror, who kicked off with House of Wax in 2005.

A salutary tale.

A Quiet Girl is a lovely Irish film about a girl sent to a family on a farm to avoid her own dysfunctional parents.

Released through Madman, it has made $702,000 in six weeks and is currently running on 40 screens, though it will soon disappear. Sounds good, I hear you thinking, sad it hasn’t done that well, but it sounds a bit teary for me.

Right now, the Irish film industry is ecstatic, according to Variety. It won Best Feature in the Kplus category for older children at Berlin, won the New Talent category at Taipei, won the Audience Award at Dublin, competed at the Sydney Film Festival and won hugely at the Irish Film and Television Awards. We have to be careful about these results, because they put the picture solidly on the festival radar, but they are not the Big Kahuna wins from Cannes, Locarno, Toronto etc etc, or even Berlin.

It has just made €1 million in the box office in Ireland and the UK, which is $1.55m, considered to be cause for celebration. I think the figures have been misreported, because there is no mention of the Australian returns, which take the total to $2.2m. Some distributors may be hanging on to Oscar season because the film is the official Irish candidate for the International Oscar.

I am sure Madman sees the picture as a slow burning achiever, and will be sending congratulatory emails inside the organisation. But the point for me is this: it has done well here compared to the results in its home market; the picture is very good; it has precisely one review on Rotten Tomatoes; its quality is absolutely not measured in box office success. Anyone who thinks the figures I reproduce each week in this column represent any true measure of quality needs their head read.

Quality doesn’t work unless it is backed by scale, and scale is ruthlessly driven by expectation of returns. Round and round we go, with maybe a certain satisfaction in the collapse of Amsterdam and Bodies Bodies Bodies, both of which had hot casts, interesting directors, lots of marketing department input, and were released at scale.

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.