The Worst Labor Day Weekend in Decades Wasn’t a Complete Wash-Out


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Film  4-Day Weekend Opening Weekend Current Gross
The Hitman’s Bodyguard $13.3m $21.4m $58m
Annabelle: Creation $9.2m $35m $90.9m
Wind River $7.9m $16,000 $20.3m
Leap! $6.3m $4.7m $12.7m
Logan Lucky $5.5m $7.6m $22.5m


There was definitely a good news and bad news scenario at the box office this Labor Day weekend. Sure, it was one of the worst showings the four-day holiday had in almost two decades, but that was mainly because there were no new movies released into more than 1,000 theaters. Because of that, all the returning movies did very well, bringing in business from many people who haven’t been going to the movies every weekend this summer.

Lionsgate might be seen as the bonafide genius of the late summer, having released the Ryan Reynolds-Samuel L. Jackson action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard three weeks back, possibly aware there wouldn’t be much competition after the release of Annabelle: Creation. Because of this, the movie won its third weekend in a row at #1, making it the only movie of the summer to achieve that benchmark.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard grossed $13.4 million over the four-day weekend, up 30% from last weekend, to bring its total to $58.1 million, which is quite impressive for a movie with very little buzz and mixed reviews.

New Line’s Annabelle: Creation took advantage of its last weekend before the horror competition of It, bringing in an additional $7.3 million to up its domestic gross to $91 million, not bad for a movie that cost $15 million.  It has grossed another $164.4 million overseas, making it even more profitable.

Another genius move this month came from the Weinstein Company, who were still iffy about releasing Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River when it premiered at Sundance in January.  They ended up releasing it on August 4 in select cities, then took their time expanding the movie over the past few weekends, expanding further into 2,602 theaters Friday. Over the four-day holiday, it took third place with an estimated $8 million, which is up more than 73% from last weekend. With $20.4 million grossed so far, Wind River is the company’s highest grossing movie of the year, having received strong reviews and word-of-mouth, which could make one of the few movies that won’t get battered as badly by next week’s big release.

Fourth place was also the Weinstein Company with their animated Leap!, which added $6.6 million (up 40% from opening) to bring its total to $13.1 million.

Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky from Bleecker Street took fifth place with $5.6 million, its $22.7 million making it the distributor’s highest-grossing release to date.

That was followed by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk with $5.6 million and $180 million domestic. It’s only about $8 million behind Nolan’s 2014 sci-fi drama Interstellar, although it hasn’t done nearly as well overseas, even though it’s still amassed $459 million worldwide.

The next four spots were all returning movies with the biggest surprising being Universal’s Despicable Me 3, which broke back into the top 10 after weeks without a significant expansion. It was up 89% from last weekend with $3.3 million added to its domestic haul of $258.8 million.

There were four more or less new movies released Friday into more than 300 theaters, but none of those movies came anywhere near the Top 10.

closeencountersTriStar Pictures

The new movie with the widest release wasn’t even a new movie at all as TriStar Pictures gave Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind a 40th Anniversary re-release into 901 theaters where it grossed $2.3 million or $2,553 per theater, better than the other new releases.

The Weinstein Company finally released Justin Chadwick’s Tulip Fever, starring Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Dane DeHaan, into 765 theaters and probably wish they hadn’t. It grossed just $1.4 million over the four days, averaging $1,830 per theater.

The IMAX-only release of Marvel’s The Inhumans, previewing the ABC show’s Sept. 29 premiere, was met mostly with indifference, as it grossed $1.8 in 393 theaters, just over $5,000 per theater, which was actually better than all but one movie in theaters.

Pantelion Films’ Spanish-language comedy Hazlo Como Hombre, which I foolishly thought would break out and do well this weekend, didn’t really do so. It only grossed $1.5 million over the four-day weekend in 382 theaters, averaging $3,887 per theater.

Warner Bros. re-expanded their summer hit Wonder Woman nationwide last weekend, and the $2.5 million grossed this weekend helped it to move past a number of previous superhero blockbusters. It has grossed $409.5 million domestically so far, which moves it past Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Captain Marvel: Civil War to become the 20th highest grossing movie domestically.

Check back on Tuesday afternoon for actual box office numbers, then on Thursday for the preview of the upcoming weekend at the box office when Warner Bros’ It should be the biggest draw in weeks.

(Source: Figures represent estimated numbers at time of writing, and they may change.)

  | East Coast Editor



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