We’ve been leading up to a big crash at the box office this summer and that’s just what happened over the Labour Day weekend.
For years now studios have all gone on break over the long holiday weekend, as most audiences skip the theatres and instead venture on vacations or the beach. But this is the first time in 25 years a movie wasn’t released in over 1,000 screens over Labour Day.
That has led to a pitiful box office total that by Monday should land around $US100 million domestically over the four days — not the worst in history but pretty bad as its down 22% from last year’s total.
Signs of Hollywood conceding the summer came two weekends ago when the only wide release was the action/comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. It won the weekend despite a 39% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
Then last weekend, things got worse when the movie biz had its worse box office in 16 years with a total of only $US69 million (“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” once again won the weekend). We’ve now hit the wasteland that is Labour Day weekend, and you guessed it, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” won for a third straight weekend with an estimated $US10.2 million, according to Exhibitor Relations.
It’s the only movie to win the weekend box office three weeks in a row this summer, but it’s hard for Lionsgate to have bragging rights when the movie had zero competition.
Labour Day weekend gets so barren studios like to brush off classics and release them in theatres.
This year, Sony brought out Steven Spielberg’s classic, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” on 900 screens for the movie’s 40th anniversary. Marvel used the holiday to release on the big screen a tease of its next TV series, “Inhumans,” on just under 400 IMAX screens. Both titles took in under $US2 million as of Sunday.
Then there’s “Tulip Fever,” a movie that has had numerous release date changes over years. The Weinstein Company finally gave the movie to the masses this weekend and audiences were as excited to see it as the Weinsteins were of releasing it.
The movie — sporting a 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes despite having a cast that includes Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, and Zach Galifianakis — opened on under 800 screens and has earned around $US1.25 million.
Despite this summer movie season not being able to crack $US4 billion for the first time since 2006 (2017 domestic total: $US3.8 billion), the fall brings hope. The Warner Bros. release of the Stephen King classic “It” next weekend is projected to make $US60 million.
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