Box Office: 'The Hitman's Bodyguard' Wins Worst Labor Day in 20 Years With $13.4M
The reason for the downturn? There were no new major releases on the holiday marquee.
The Labor Day box office was anything but a picnic, capping a difficult summer that saw revenue and attendance plummet.
Revenue for the four-day holiday weekend will land between $93 million and $96 million, down as much as 26 percent from 2016 and marking the worst Labor Day frame since 1998 or 1996, when revenue topped out at $95.2 million and $90.6 million, respectively, according to comScore. (Final numbers for this year will be tallied Tuesday.)
The culprit? There weren't any new wide releases. At the same time, it could have been much worse. Many thought it would be the slowest Labor Day in 25 years or more, but traffic at the multiplex was heavier than expected. Hollywood may have abandoned Labor Day, but consumers didn't.
The Hitman's Bodyguard, Lionsgate's action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, benefited from the lack of competition by earning as much in its third outing as it did last weekend, grossing $10.5 million from 3,370 theaters for the three days and $13.4 million for the four. The movie's domestic total through Monday is an estimated $58.1 million. Annabelle: Creation likewise benefited. The horror pic scared up $7.4 million from 3,358 locations for the three days — almost as good as last weekend — for a four-day gross of $9.3 million and raising Annabelle 2's domestic cume to $91 million.
The holiday weekend brought mixed news for Harvey Weinstein's film shop. Specialty crime thriller Wind River earned $6.2 million for the four days as it expanded into a total of 2,602 theaters, placing No. 3 and finishing the holiday with a domestic tally of $20.4 million. The Weinstein Co.'s animated family film Leap! followed at No. 4 with $6.6 million from 2,705 cinemas for a cume of $13.1 million.
However, TWC's long-delayed Tulip Fever, starring Alicia Vikander, bombed in its moderate debut in 765 locations. The period drama opened outside of the top 20 with a four-day tally of $1.4 million.
Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, a box-office disappointment for Bleecker Street that rounded out the top five domestically with $5.5 million, will finish its third weekend with a domestic cume of roughly $22 million.
Warner Bros.' World War II epic Dunkirk, from Christopher Nolan, continued to dazzle, placing No. 6 in North America with $5.6 million and marching past $458 million in global ticket sales. In China, Dunkirk debuted to $30 million, a good showing for a war film.
Sony's rerelease of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, timed to the film's 40th anniversary and rerelease on DVD, beat Tulip Fever with an estimated $2.3 million from 901 locations.
And the first two episodes of ABC and Marvel Television's Inhumans grossed an estimated $1.4 million in 380 Imax theaters over the four days. The comic book adaptation, which premieres in the U.S. at the end of this month, opened to an estimated $2.6 million globally.
Elsewhere, Amazon Studios and Lionsgate's The Big Sick — this summer's most successful indie film — prospered as it returned to 1,270 U.S. locations, earning an estimated $1.8 million for a running total of $41.3 million.
Among other specialized offerings, Lionsgate's Hazlo Como Hombre (Do It Like an Hombre), which did blockbuster business in Mexico earlier this year, opened to $1.5 million from 383 locations.
By the time Labor Day weekend wraps, summer box-office revenue is expected to finish at $3.83 billion, down 15 percent over summer 2016, according to comScore. Attendance also suffered, coming in 16 percent behind last year. Official summer stats will be released Monday or Tuesday.
Year-to-date revenue is down around 6 percent domestically. Overseas, however, international box-office revenue is up nearly 4 percent, thanks primarily to China.
The North American box office is expected to wake up in a big way this coming weekend with the debut of the horror pic It, based on the Stephen King novel. The New Line film is tracking to open in the $65 million-$70 million range, a record for September. Other high-profile September titles include Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Lego Batman movie spinoff Ninjago, both of which open Sept. 22, as well director Doug Liman's American Made, starring Tom Cruise.
American Made — based on the real-life tale of a TWA pilot who smuggled cocaine for the Medellin cartel in the 1980s before becoming a DEA informant — has already started rolling out internationally. Over the weekend, the Universal release flew into an additional 14 territories, earning a so-so $9.1 million from a total of 35 markets for an early cume of $19.8 million.
Sept. 4, 8:15 a.m.: Updated with revised grosses for the four-day holiday weekend.