Three new movies get little love over Labor Day weekend
Hollywood went 0-for-3 on Labor Day weekend, as a trio of new releases underperformed and last weekend's top films, "The Final Destination" and "Inglourious Basterds," ruled the box office once again.
The latter picture proved particularly strong, as the Quentin Tarantino-directed World War II drama declined only 40% on its third weekend, selling a studio-estimated $15 million in tickets from Friday through the holiday Monday. Its domestic total is now an impressive $95.2 million.
Weinstein Co. and Universal's co-production also continues to do well in foreign countries, where it collected $14.3 million, boosting its cumulative international take through Sunday to $83.3 million. In an interesting twist, given its focus on a group of Jewish American commandos seeking to kill top Nazi officers, the movie is proving particularly strong in Germany, where it dropped only 2% on its third weekend.
"The Final Destination" landed at No. 1 more through weak starts for new films than its own strong performance. The New Line Cinema-branded horror flick dropped 55% on its second weekend, standard for the genre, and grossed $15.4 million from Friday through Monday.
That's far better than last weekend's other new horror film, "Halloween II," which plummeted 65% and landed at No. 6.
"All About Steve" grossed $13.9 million for the four-day weekend. On a three-day basis, it recorded the lowest opening for a Sandra Bullock romantic comedy since 2000's "Miss Congeniality," which went on to sell $106.8 million of tickets domestically. That's an unlikely outcome for "Steve," as audiences gave it an average grade of only C+, according to a person with access to data from market research firm CinemaScore.
Lionsgate's "Gamer" was also a mild disappointment. Its $11.2-million opening weekend total is lower than that of "Crank," a similar high-energy action comedy that the studio opened on Labor Day weekend three years ago. Its CinemaScore was C+, indicating that it will likely have a big second weekend drop as well.
Despite a hefty marketing push to give the cult favorite director his first big opening, Miramax got the Mike Judge comedy "Extract" to only $5.3 million. On a comparable three-day basis, that's barely more than "Office Space" debuted to in 1999, indicating a significant drop in attendance given 10 years of ticket price inflation.
It's a decent performance for Miramax, however, since the art house division of Walt Disney Studios paid only $3 million for domestic distribution rights and the total production budget was $7 million.
Total domestic box office receipts were up 2.8% from last year's Labor Day weekend, according to Hollywood.com, essentially keeping pace with rising prices.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com. All grosses are Friday through Monday, but percentage declines include only Friday through Sunday ticket sales in order to make for a fair comparison to last weekend, which didn't include a holiday.
1. "The Final Destination" (Warner Bros./New Line): $15.4 million on its second weekend, down 55%. Domestic total: $50.6 million.
2. "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co./Universal): $15 million, down only 40% on its third weekend. It has now sold $95.2 million of tickets in the U.S. and Canada.
3. "All About Steve" (Fox): Opened to $13.9 million.
4. "Gamer" (Lionsgate): $11.2 million on its debut weekend.
5. "District 9" (Sony/QED): $9 million on its fourth weekend, a drop of just 31%. Domestic total: $103.3 million.
6. "Halloween II" (Weinstein Co.): Plunged 65% on its second weekend, collecting $7.1 million through Monday. Eleven-day total is $27.1 million.
7. "Julie & Julia" (Sony): Continuing its very strong run, dropped just 25% on its fifth weekend. $7 million for the weekend, $80.6 million domestic total.
8. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (Paramount/Spyglass): Down only 33% on its fifth weekend, collecting $6.7 million. Domestic ticket sales now stand at $141 million.
9. "The Time Traveler's Wife" (Warner Bros./New Line): Declined 33% on its fourth weekend. Grossed $5.4 million, bringing its total to $55.8 million.
10. "Extract" (Miramax): Sold $5.3 million worth of tickets on its opening weekend.
-- Ben Fritz
Photos, from top: Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper in "All About Steve"; Ben Affleck and Jason Batemen in "Extract." Credits, from top: Suzanne Tenner / Twentieth Century Fox; Sam Urdank / Miramax.