While Halloween has always been one of the biggest brands in horror, no previous release in the franchise has been as immediately successful as David Gordon Green’s new movie. In just three days the sequel managed to make more money than any other previous chapter did in their respective theatrical runs, and the goal was accomplished in part because the film has been riding high on a wave of positive buzz for nearly a month.
There is no questioning the massive accomplishments of the new Halloween — and that success deserves analysis and recognition. This is largely because there are particular moves that the film made in its development to which other studios should definitely pay close attention. They break down into five lessons in total, so let’s dive in:
Remakes Are Dumb
Is that a broad generalization? Of course. History is filled with filmmakers taking clever new ideas and crafting fantastic re-dos. At the same time, however, when you consider what the new Halloween has brought to the table, the benefits of the long-awaited-sequel over the straight remake are entirely clear. Not only do the numbers agree, with David Gordon Green’s movie projected to earn more than double the box office of director Rob Zombie’s two reboot entries (combined) a decade ago, but there’s also no debating the creative opportunities presented by one tactic over the other.
Not being a remake, the new Halloween doesn’t specifically speak to the weakness of remakes — but what it does show is just the immense possibility that comes part and parcel with a sequel approach. In this particular case it look a bit of extra tinkering with the franchise timeline (more on that in a second), but the willingness to tell a 40-years-later story is the real key to the film’s success. Rather than just running over treaded territory to create a facsimile, the movie instead has the chance to perfectly reflect on what came before and utilize it imaginatively and engagingly.
There’s no point in hitting the reset button when there is strong material to build on, and we are getting to a point in Hollywood where decision-makers are starting to figure that out.