Monday, March 3, 2008

A Retrospective of Halloween The Movie

The original 1978 film Halloween The Movie is one of the more interesting cases of independent film making history. In the sense that it was a wildly popular film and financial success that was based on a decidedly atypical business decision regarding the film's distribution.

Originally, the title of the film was “The Babysitter Murders” and the theme of the film centered on the assault on the titular cast of errant babysitters. However, the moniker of the film was later changed to “Halloween” before filming commenced because the film’s producer of the film Irwin Yablans felt that the film would have a greater chance at the box office if it were released with a seasonal theme. (This would be copied ad nausea in horror films for years) Considering director John Carpenter’s previous film 1975’s excellent Assault on Precinct 13 was a major flop, Carpenter was open to anything that would yield decent box office success as his prospects for the future directorial assignments was dim. Yablan’s eventual distribution plan for Halloween the Movie, however, was something that Carpenter believed was wrongheaded.

When Halloween was first released in 1978, it opened to decent box office, yet the Yablans had the distribution company yank it from theaters. Carpenter was perplexed as to why a popular film would be pulled as it was going strong box office. The response from Yablans was that he felt that it would be best to pull the film Halloween from its theatrical run in order to set up a future re-release plan for the next several Halloween seasons. Carpenter was not convinced and felt this plan would kill Halloween’s. However, Carpenter found himself pleasantly surprised in 1979 when the re-release of Halloween the movie did major box office upwards of $40 million dollars. Halloween the movie (and its immediate sequel Halloween II) would do solid box office in re-releases through 1982 and then would become perennial audience draws on television.

History has proven that Yablans’ decision was a brilliant one as it led to the Halloween film to become a perennial Halloween favorite.

Looking for the Halloween Movie Series? Click here if you want to buy John Carpenters Halloween, or buy the sequel Halloween II.