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The Labor Day box office is a wipeout, according to Friday estimates. With no new wide releases of a thousand theaters or more to drive ticket-buyers, the two arrivals — the Close Encounters of a Third Kind 40th anniversary restoration and the period drama Tulip Fever — generated little excitement.
With no new major releases on the marquee, revenue for the four-day holiday weekend is expected to come in at around $85 million, the worst Labor Day weekend showing since the mid-’90s. Revenue is looking as if it will be down by about one third from Labor Day 2016.
Labor Day has never been a big moviegoing weekend, but there is still money to be made. The holiday has become a popular resting place for genre films and re-releases, as well as nonstudio titles.
The Weinstein Co. is using the weekend to introduce its long-delayed period drama Tulip Fever, starring Alicia Vikander, which rolled out in 765 locations, and quickly went bust. The movie took in just $357,000 for the day, and over the four-day weekend will have a hard time topping $1.5 million.
Sony had better luck with its re-release of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which took in $485,000 in 901 theaters and will earn around $1.9 million for the four days, a little bit ahead of an advance viewing of the first two episodes of ABC and Marvel Television’s Inhumans in 380 Imax theaters, which should do about $1.7 million. (The comic book adaptation, which premieres in the U.S. next month, is also playing in hundreds of Imax theaters overseas.)
Without any competition to speak of, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is staying atop the chart in its third weekend with an estimated four-day gross of more than $11 million, followed by fellow holdover Annabelle: Creation with about $8.5 million. Both titles are playing in more than 3,000 cinemas, followed by TWC’s art-house thriller Wind River, with about $6.5 million, and TWC’s animated Leap!, with about $6 million.
By the time Labor Day weekend wraps, summer box-office revenue is expected to finish at $3.78 billion, down 15.7 percent over summer 2016, according to comScore. That’s the steepest decline in modern times, eclipsing the 14.6 percent dip in 2014. It will also be the first time since 2006 that revenue didn’t clear $4 billion. Year-to-date, revenue is down 5.7 percent domestically. Overseas, however, international box-office revenue is up nearly 4 percent so far this year.
Sept. 2, 8:20 a.m.: Updated to include Friday estimates.
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