“Halloween played a trick on Hollywood studios this weekend” by scaring away moviegoers, said Meg James in the Los Angeles Times. With Halloween falling on Friday, a key movie night was ruined as Americans chose costume parties over the cinema, and the weekend box office total was just $85 million, “down nearly 37% compared with the same weekend last year.”
To say the movie industry has "a mess on our hands,” said John Hamann in Box Office Prophets, would be “the understatement of the year.” But this was no surprise: The last time Halloween landed on a Friday, in 2003, “the same havoc reigned.” What is “bizarre,” though, is that the horror film Saw V wasn’t able to dethrone High School Musical 3.
The Disney musical was saved by another thing that can scare off crowds, said Ryan Parsons in CanMag. "Zak and Miri Make a Porno" might have dethroned HSM3 without the word "porno" in the title. But don't read too much into the overall weekend numbers—most of the week's big films bounced back strongly on Saturday.