Box Office: ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Leads Worst Labor Day Since 1990s
For the first time in 25 years, there aren’t any new major releases on the holiday marquee.
The Labor Day box office is no picnic, capping a difficult summer that saw revenue and attendance plummet.
Revenue for the four-day holiday weekend will land between $90 million-$100 million, down more than 22 percent from 2016 and likely the worst Labor Day frame since 1998 ($78.8 million). 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 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 an estimated $10.3 million for the three days domestically and $12.9 million for the four. (Revised four-day numbers will be released Monday.) Annabelle: Creation likewise benefited. The horror pic earned an estimated $7.4 million for the three days — almost as good as last weekend — for a projected four-day gross of $9.3 million.
Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, a box-office disappointment that will finish its third weekend with just over $21 million, rounded out the top five with $4.4 million for three days and a projected $5.7 million in for four.
World War II epic Dunkirk, from Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., continued to dazzle, placing No. 6 domestically and marching past $458 million in global ticket sales. In China over the weekend, Dunkirk debuted to $30 million, a good showing for a war film.
The holiday weekend brought mixed news for Harvey Weinstein’s film shop. Specialty crime thriller Wind River earned a pleasing $5.9 million for the three days and an estimated $7.5 million for the four to place No. 3 in North America while animated family film Leap! took in an estimated $4.9 million and $7 million for a fourth-place finish, respectively.
However, TWC’s long-delayed Tulip Fever, starring Alicia Vikander, bombed in its moderate debut in 765 locations. The period drama placed No. 20 domestically with an estimated $1.2 million for the three days and $1.5 million for the four.
Sony’s rerelease of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, timed to the film’s 40th anniversary and rerelease on DVD, looks to beat Tulip Fever with a projected four-day gross of $2.3 million from 901 locations.
And the first two episodes of ABC and Marvel Television’s Inhumans in 380 Imax theaters is projected to earn $1.4 million for the four days. The comic book adaptation, which premieres in the U.S. next month, is also playing in hundreds of Imax theaters overseas, opening to an estimated $2.6 million globally.
Elsewhere, Amazon Studios and Lionsgate’s The Big Sick — summer’s most successful indie film — prospered as it returned to 1,270 locations, earning an estimated $1.8 million for the four days for a domestic 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 $1.4 million from 383 locations.
By the time Labor Day weekend wraps, summer box-office revenue is expected to finish at $3.8 billion, down more than 15 percent over summer 2016, according to comScore. That’s the steepest decline in modern times, eclipsing the 14.6 percent dip in 2014. Attendance also plummeted, down an estimated 18 percent. Official summer stats will be released on Monday or Tuesday.
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, thanks primarily to China.
Next weekend, the North American box office is expected to wake up in a big way upon the debut of It, based on the Stephen Kong novel. The horror pic is tracking to open in the $60 million-$65 million range, which would mark a record September opening. Other high-profile September titles include Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Lego Batman movie spinoff Ninjago, both of which open Sept. 22, as well a 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 begun opening internationally. Over the weekend, the Universal release rolled out in an additional 14 territories, earning a so-so $9.1 million from a total of 35 markets for an early total of $19.8 million.