New York CNN Business  — 

It’s hard to say it any other way: Michael Myers made a killing at the box office this weekend.

Universal’s “Halloween,” the 11th film in the horror franchise, beat expectations and earned an estimated $77.5 million in North America this weekend. That’s the best opening ever for the 40-year-old slasher series.

It also marks second biggest debut for a horror film behind last year’s “It,” which had a $123 million opening.

The sequel, which stars Jamie Lee Curtis, adds to a blockbuster October. Earlier this month “Venom” notched a record setting $80 million, the best October debut on the books.

“Halloween” capitalized on its own brand recognition and the recent popularity of the horror genre to bring in such a big weekend. Films such as “Get Out,” “A Quiet Place” and “It” have all surprised Hollywood in recent years with big box office totals.

The slasher film, which is a direct sequel to the 1978 classic, was also a hit with critics as well as audiences. It earned an 80% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes.

The surprising returns for “Halloween” mark another win for Hollywood, which is up 10.6% from the same point last year, according to comScore. This weekend’s box office itself was up a whopping 71.7% from the same weekend in 2017.

The rest of the year also looks promising for the film industry. Potential blockbusters such as Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Paramount’s “Bumblebee” and Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” are still on the schedule for the rest of the year.