The movie business got knocked out at the box office over the weekend as revenue fell to its lowest level in three years, and almost as low as the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A lack of product is the main culprit as summer limps to a close, with none of the new offerings earning more than $5 million. Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight was a major distraction, while Hurricane Harvey prompted theater closures in numerous Texas markets, including Houston.
On Sunday, weekend revenue was estimated at $65 million, the worst showing since the Sept. 21-23 weekend in 2001 ($59.4 million) almost 16 years ago, and down 43 percent from the same frame last year when Don't Breathe opened to an impressive $24.6 million. Sunday was stronger than expected, raising revenue to $68.9 million, a three-year low, according to comScore. (Over the Sept. 5-7 weekend in 2014, revenue came in at $66 million.)
Holdover The Hitman's Bodyguard, an action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, won the weekend with $10 million in its second outing for a domestic total of $39.6 million. The Lionsgate release joins only a short list of titles winning the box-office crown with $10 million or less, at least in modern times.
Among the new movies on the marquee, The Weinstein Co.'s animated family pic Leap! did the best, grossing an estimated $5 million from 2,575 theaters for a third-place finish behind Hitman and New Line's Annabelle: Creation, which grossed $7.4 million in its third outing for a domestic tally of $77.9 million.
Leap!, which earned an A CinemaScore, tells the story of an 11-year-old orphan (voiced by Elle Fanning) who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. She teams up with a young inventor named Victor, and together they pursue their passions in 19th century Paris, where the Eiffel Tower is still under construction.
Harvey Weinstein's shop also claimed the fourth spot on the chart with Wind River. The specialty film, expanding aggressively into a total of 2,095 locations after a limited run, grossed $4.4 million for a domestic cume of $9.8 million.
George Nolfi's Birth of the Dragon, from Blumhouse's microbudget genre label BH Tilt and WWE Studios, opened in eighth place with $2.6 million from 1,618 theaters. The film, which earned a B CinemaScore, is a fictionalized account of when Bruce Lee challenged kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a fight in the mid-1960s in San Francisco.
Along with being offered on pay-per-view, the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight was beamed into 481 theaters via Fathom and Mayweather Productions. The distribution strategy proved a one-two punch, with the fight grossing $2.4 million to come in No. 9 with a screen average of $4,990 — the best of any film in the top 10.
Another special offering was James Cameron's 4K 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which AMC Entertainment played in 563 locations. The rerelease earned an estimated $560,000.
That paled in comparison with the rerelease of Wonder Woman in dozens of Imax theaters only days after Cameron set social media afire by saying director Patty Jenkins' superhero blockbuster was a "step backwards." Wonder Woman grossed $1.7 million on the eve of its digital home entertainment release, a 54 percent uptick over the previous weekend for a domestic total of $406.2 million.
Wonder Woman placed No. 12, just ahead of the weekend's third new nationwide offering, Steve Gomer's faith-based film All Saints, from Sony's Affirm label. The $2 million pic earned $1.6 million from 846 locations.
All Saints is based on the real-life story of Michael Spurlock, a salesman-turned-pastor who, along with a group of refugees from Southeast Asia, risked everything to save his tiny church. John Corbett, Cara Buono, Myles Moore, Nelson Lee, Barry Corbin, David Keith, Angela Fox, Chonda Pierce and Greg Alan Williams star.
At the specialty box office, Neon's Ingrid Goes West beat A24's Good Time as both films made major expansions, albeit to muted results. Ingrid Goes West, starring Aubrey Plaza, grossed $781,750 from 647 locations for a screen average of $1,208 and a domestic cume of $1.3 million. Robert Pattinson's Good Time grossed $610,890 from 721 theaters for a domestic tally of $1 million and a screen average of $847.
Aug. 28, 7 a.m. Updated with revised revenue figures.