In news that we have to assume folks were expecting to be a lot more exciting before the reviews from the Venice Film Festival started rolling in, Peacock announced today that it’s acquired day-and-date streaming rights for David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills. The film—which stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, and Andi Matichak, reprising their roles from Green’s well-received reboot of/sequel to the franchise from 2018—will, per Deadline, hit the paid tiers of the NBC-owned streaming service on October 15, the same date that it arrives in theaters.
Given the long lead times these kinds of deals require, it’s unlikely that the fairly tepid critical response that greeted Gordon’s sequel—“shapeless,” “rote,” and “muddled” all pop up in preview reactions, amid more positive notes praising Kills for its devotion to the more brutal side of the slasher flick equation—at Venice was a factor in this deal. (Even if it might have blunted enthusiasm, at least a bit.) Deadline actually paints this as less of a retreat from the box office—which surged on Labor Day weekend with Shang-Chi, but which still feels extremely dicey for long-term mid-Delta-variant planning—than as a lateral move, designed to allow the film to hit on multiple fronts.
That’s a pretty radical departure from film release dogma, which generally holds that the exclusive theatrical window is the only thing keeping all of us slobs from watching The Grand Masterpieces Of Cinema on our Nokia flip-phones in our underpants. But Universal (which owns Peacock, and has distribution rights on Kills) is apparently looking to “eventize” Halloween Kills, which appears to mean “Get people to pay for the paid tier of Peacock so they don’t have to go out to the theater to see this dang thing.” It’s a bold move, especially since it’s probably going to have theater owners tearing their hair out—although, to be fair, they have a pretty packed October on their plate already, what with Venom 2, Dune, No Time To Die, Last Night In Soho, and more eating up screen space in the coming weeks. (Provided nobody blinks, leastways.)