As we come off a swampy August, don’t expect any box office perks from the Labor Day weekend holiday.
Typically the final weekend of summer is home to horror fare — the frame’s record opener being 2007’s Halloween reboot at $30.6M — but distributors ignored the opportunity to program the genre this year. Instead, the fresh offerings are composed of Broad Green’s first wide entry A Walk In The Woods, aimed squarely at adults, and EuropaCorp’s franchise reboot The Transporter Refueled, targeted toward guys.
Two African-American demo titles are projected to reign over the top two spots again, with Universal/Legenardy’s Straight Outta Compton taking $10M over FSSM and Sony/Affirm’s War Room in 200 more theaters from last weekend at 1,335, making $7M-$8M. Compton will become the second title this year after Uni’s Furious 7 to hold No. 1 for four weekends straight.
Broad Green is getting its Nick Nolte-Robert Redford hiking dramedy way out in front of the autumn awards-season adult onslaught, previewing tonight before opening Wednesday in 1,800 locations. By Friday, the Ken Kwapis-helmed feature, based on Bill Bryson’s New York Times bestseller, should be in 1,946 theaters. According to this morning’s estimates, A Walk In The Woods is expected to make $5M over FSS and $8M over six days. It’s not unusual for adult-skewing dramas to launch over the Labor Day frame, i.e. Focus Features’ The Debt and The Constant Gardener opened during summer’s final weekend in the past. The Debt bowed on a Wednesday in 2010 and made $9.9M over FSS and $14.8M over six days, while Constant Gardener grossed $8.7M over FSS and $12.7M over six in 2005. Broad Green acquired A Walk in the Woods out of Sundance for high seven figures. The strongest demo in tracking are females over 25 with a 40% definite choice. Previews start tonight at 7 PM.
EuropaCorp’s foray into stateside distribution, Transporter Refueled, is looking at $7M-$8M over four days in third place. Luc Besson’s company is banking on the world for this one. Transporter 3 made $77.3M overseas to $31.7M stateside in 2008. Why open a Transporter now? Well, Fox opened Transporter 2 during Labor Day weekend 2005 and made a whopping $20.1M over four days.
The Weinstein Co.’s No Escape and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation will continue to fight in the rankings with about $6M in FSSM cash.
Open Road’s critically acclaimed Dope, which has collected $16.76M at the domestic box office to date, is out for another go-round in about 1,000 theaters. AMPAS, PGA, DGA, WGA, BFCA and the SAG and NAACP nomination committees will be passed in for free.
Through this past Sunday, summer could wind up being the second-best ever with $4.3 billion after 2013’s record $4.7 billion. Could being the key word. Summer 2011 is currently No. 2 at $4.4B, but August really proved a drag — off 63% versus last August, which hit a record $1B high thanks to mega grossers Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($191.2M domestic B.O.) and Guardians Of The Galaxy ($333.2M). That Disney-Marvel pic was the highest-grossing film of 2014 for quite some time until The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 beat its record, followed by American Sniper.