Wow, what a crappy weekend to start off the fall movie season. Let’s not mince words here, fall movie season is known more for quality than quantity, in this case better-reviewed films than box office receipts. So to start off the new season at the movies and also the start of September, we have no movies opening in wide release, and instead one film re-releasing in moderate release and one film in semi-moderate release, Tulip Fever. But the big story of this upcoming Labor Day weekend is the potential for the slowest, lowest-grossing Labor Day weekend in decades. I’ve heard some say as far back as the late 80’s just because of the lack of wide-release films. We’ll have to see for sure, but I know I’m not going to the theaters between Friday and Sunday, but there might be one moderate release that makes me go. All right, so a lot of repeats this weekend, let’s get going.
Number one this weekend will once again go to The Hitman’s Bodyguard with another 40% off and a third weekend of $6.1 million, and once again we’re just covering Friday-Sunday, not including Labor Day itself next Monday. Second place will go to Annabelle: Creation which I see falling 35% and making another $4.9 million. A surprise for me last weekend was seeing Wind River in the top five and I think it will go up to the third place spot with $3.9 million, it’ll only drop another 15%.
Fourth place I am going to give to the moderate re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which is celebrating its fortieth anniversary later this year. It’s very rare for a film to get this level of re-release nowadays, which is 901 theaters, and while obviously it’s a classic with actors like Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, and Francois Truffaut in it, and Spielberg writing and directing it, for a whole generation of moviegoers who have discovered the movie, the chance to see it on the big screen hasn’t been around in decades, and I think those who weren’t around when the original was out or who want to revisit it, this is one they’ll go and see. I foresee a $3.5 million performance for a per-theater average of $3,885.
Leap! I see falling to fifth place and making another $2.6 million. So that leaves Tulip Fever out of the top five, and since there’s no tracking available on the project, I don’t see a good result. While we do have an extremely friendly Oscar-level caliber cast including Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Zach Galifianakis, Matthew Morrison, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench, and Christoph Waltz, the film has been set for several different release dates going back to November 2015 then to July 2016, then to February 2017, then to last week, and finally one more time to this weekend, which I cannot recall a time when a film had that many release date switches and come out to be a fantastic film. And the nail in the coffin is the lack of reviews. I’m not aiming high on this one and saying $1.5 million opening weekend. 765 theaters will play it, so we’re looking at $1,961 as the per-theater average.
All right, now we’ll get to the top five from last weekend and see how well I did trying to predict them. The Hitman’s Bodyguard hit the number one spot with another $10.2 million. I had it earning $10.6 million. Annabelle: Creation once again hit the number two spot with $7.6 million, and I had it at $8.5 million. Third place went to the only big winner from last weekend that was a new release: Leap!, which made $4.7 million, which I had in fifth place and $4.2 million, so it did better than I thought it would. My third place prediction Dunkirk went out of the top five. Fourth place went to the expansion of Wind River, which is phenomenal, by the way, and made $4.6 million. I was not aware it was expanding into more than 2,000 theaters. If I had been aware, maybe I would have predicted it in a top five spot or just outside it. Oh well. Next up in fifth place was Logan Lucky, down 44% and making another $4.2 million. I had it in fourth place with $4.5 million, so I was pretty close on that one. And for the other two releases we talked about last week, Birth of the Dragon and All Saints. I had $3.5 million being the makings for Birth of the Dragon, outside the top ten, but it wasn’t in the cards: eighth place with $2.7 million. And in a catastrophic result, All Saints landed in 16th place with $1.5 million. I had it outside the top five and gave it a $2 million prediction. Okay, so that’s all I got for this time. As I’ve said before, next weekend will turn up the heat with It, which I’m starting to think might open to as big as $65 million. Could be, and Warner Brothers is putting it in 4,000 plus theaters, which is more than any film in The Conjuring universe (2013-present) and is guaranteed at this point at least $40 million opening weekend, though tracking has it going considerably higher in its low-range projections. In other words, start buying stock in Warner Brothers and New Line; we could easily be seeing not only the highest opening gross for any horror film, not only for any film opening in September, this might get close to The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) trilogy level numbers, which topped out at $72.6 million for Return of the King (2003) and set a record for the highest opening of any New Line Cinema production. Seriously, we might be talking big-time record shattering come next week. From the lows of this week to the hopeful highs of next week, and seriously 2017 could take it at this point, we’ll keep you updated with the weekend box office predictions.