The industry enters October desperately needing a rebound after the lows of August and September.
The doldrums were preceded by a strong summer, with June coming in only -16% behind the same month in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019; July had only a -12% dip. But things changed dramatically when August plummeted down to -44% versus the same month in 2019. September was even worse, possibly finishing at worse than -50% behind 2019. September 2022 even finished lower than September 2021, when the box office was still only tentatively starting to recover from the Covid pandemic. During Labor Day weekend in early September this year, the release schedule was so sparse that re-releases accounted for not one but two of the frame’s top 10 films: 1975’s Jaws and 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.
October looks to give the box office a boost—though, admittedly, it’s not until later in the year that two potentially gargantuan sequels (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water) hit screens. (Both original installments earned $700M+.) Still, October sees Hollywood unveiling a new DC Comics adaptation, a romantic comedy starring two of the biggest movie stars on the planet, a horror sequel, and even a musical with original songs.
Here are the biggest movies coming to cinemas in October 2022.
Friday, October 7
Premise: Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, and John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman and Tenet) play the three leads in 20th Century Studios’ historical crime comedy-drama set in the glamorous 1930s. David O. Russell wrote and directed, with an all-star supporting cast including Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, Anya Taylor-Joy, Zoe Saldana, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock, Michael Shannon, and Mike Myers.
Box office: Current projections are around $35M-$60M, in line with with Russell’s previous release, 2015’s Joy ($56.4M). Similar adult-skewing crime films with large ensemble casts include 2021’s House of Gucci ($53.8M), 2013’s Gangster Squad ($46.0M), and 2015’s The Big Short ($70.2M).
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Friday, October 7
Premise: Based on Bernard Waber’s bestselling 1960s picture book series about a crocodile who lives in New York City, Sony Pictures’ musical stars Shawn Mendes as the voice of the CGI animated reptile, with Javier Bardem and Constance Wu as his live-action friends. Original songs for the film were co-written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who previously wrote songs for La La Land and The Greatest Showman.
Box office: Current projections are around $65M-$95M, in line with DC League of Super-Pets at $91.6M (to-date) and on track for a total around $95M. Other comparable films with live-action humans and CGI animals include 2016’s Pete’s Dragon ($76.2M), 2018’s Christopher Robin ($99.2M), and 2015’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip ($85.8M). Having Mendes post a few times to his Instagram account with 70+ million followers surely won’t hurt the box office, either.
Friday, October 14
Premise: Based on the title, one would assume this is Universal’s final installment in the longrunning Halloween horror franchise, which dates back to 1978. Jamie Lee Curtis’s character Laurie Strode is back yet again, having miraculously survived every previous encounter with masked serial killer Michael Myers. David Gordon Green, who directed the franchise’s two prior installments, returns behind the camera.
Box office: Preexisting box office projections went out the window when Universal announced Ends would be released day-and-date simultaneously in both cinemas and on Peacock, news that only came out on August 23, less than two months before the film’s release. Universal used the same day-and-date release strategy for October 2021’s prior installment Halloween Kills, which earned $92.0M. That marked a -42% decline from the pre-pandemic, theatrically exclusive Halloween, which earned $159.3M.
Friday, October 21
Premise: The newest entry in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe stars Dwayne Johnson as the titular antihero. The film has been in the works for a while, with Johnson reportedly in talks for the role as early as 2007. Pierce Brosnan costars, with Jaume Collet-Serra directing after having previously helmed Johnson’s 2021 film Jungle Cruise.
Box office: Current projections have this earning somewhere around the same amount as 2019’s fellow DC release Shazam! with $140.3M. Several of Johnson’s most recent live-action starring roles have also earned in that $100M-$200M range, including 2018’s Rampage ($101.0M), 2019’s Hobbs & Shaw ($173.9M), and 2021’s Jungle Cruise ($116.9M with a simultaneous day-and-date release in cinemas and on Disney+).
Ticket to Paradise
Friday, October 21
Premise: Universal’s romantic comedy pairs George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a divorced couple who feel old sparks return when they team up and travel to the tropics in an attempt to stop their daughter from marrying a man she just met. The real-life friends have costarred in four prior films: 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven, 2002’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve, and 2016’s Money Monster. Ol Parker (2018’s Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again) directs.
Box office: Current projections have this film earning around $40M-$65M. Even though it’s hardly in the same genre, the aforementioned Clooney/Roberts Money Monster earned a similar $41.0M. A best-case scenario would be March’s romantic comedy (and fantasy adventure) The Lost City with $105.3M.
Friday, October 28
Premise: The 1955 murder of black 14-year-old boy Emmett Till in Mississippi became a pivotal point in the civil rights movement after his mother Mamie Till-Mobley insisted on an open-casket funeral and the national publication of the corpse’s photograph. United Artists Releasing’s historical drama stars Jalyn Hall as Emmett Till and Danielle Deadwyler as his mother. Chinonye Chukwu (Clemency) directs.
Box office: Till opens in limited release on Friday, October 14 before expanding wide two weeks later. A worst-case scenario might be 2021’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect ($24.2M). Medium comparisons would include 2019’s Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet ($43.0M), 2015’s Selma ($52.0M), and 2013’s 12 Years a Slave ($56.6M). Best-case scenarios, albeit unlikely ones, including grosses like 2013’s 42 ($95.0M) or 2013’s Lee Daniels’ The Butler ($116.6M).
Prey for the Devil
Friday, October 28
Premise: Lionsgate’s horror stars Jacqueline Byers as Sister Ann, a nun who realizes the demon she must exorcise from a young girl is the same one who haunted her own mother years before. The film has been long delayed, having originally been scheduled for January 2021. Daniel Stamm directs, of 2010’s The Last Exorcism, directs.
Box office: The Last Exorcism earned $41.0M, although Devil seems highly unlikely to match that—its total may not even reach Exorcism‘s $20.3M opening take. For comparison, last year’s main weekend-before-Halloween horror release was Antlers, which finished with $10.6M total. In 2019, that main horror release was Countdown, which earned a higher $25.6M.