LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theaters, Michael Myers is still drawing huge audiences for a good scare.

Universal Pictures said Sunday that “Halloween” took in about $77.5 million in ticket sales from North American theaters.

It captured first place at the box office with the second-highest horror opening of all time, behind last year’s “It.” It also marked the second highest October opening ever, behind the $80.3 million launch of “Venom” earlier this month.

The studio said it’s the biggest movie opening ever with a female lead over 55, in star Jamie Lee Curtis.

David Gordon Green directed “Halloween,” which brings back Curtis as Laurie Strode and Nick Castle as Michael Myers and essentially ignores the events of the other sequels and spinoffs aside from John Carpenter’s original.

Reviews have been largely positive for the new installment, with an 80 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ Cinema Score from audiences that were mostly older (59 percent over 25) and male (53 percent). Internationally, “Halloween” earned $14.3 million from 23 markets.

Blumhouse, the shop behind “Get Out” and numerous other modestly budgeted horror films, co-produced “Halloween.” It cost only $10 million to make.

With 10 days to go until the holiday, including another weekend, the studio expects “Halloween” to enjoy a much longer life than typical horror films that usually drop off significantly after the first weekend.

“Halloween” was enough to bump the comic-book film “Venom” out of the No. 1 spot and into third place. In its third weekend in theaters, it collected $18.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $171.1 million.

Meanwhile “A Star Is Born” held on to second place in its third weekend with $19.3 million. The Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga drama has grossed $126.4 million from North American theaters.

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